Do you check your business email before you go to bed? Multiple times over weekends and holidays? In the middle of your daughter’s wedding?
Does it make you crazy when you find yourself in a place where there is no signal? So crazy that you check every few minutes just in case a signal has somehow managed to find you?
If so, you’re not alone.
A 2012 survey by the Center for Creative Leadership discovered that 60% of professionals kept in touch with work for 13.5 hours every work day and spent an addition 5 hours dealing with email on weekends. That adds up to 72 hours of work a week.
The higher you go in an organization, the worse it gets. Pew Research found that people who make over $75,000 a year fret that their phone makes it impossible for them to turn off work…ever.
Some of you are no doubt smiling and thinking how wonderful this is. Such dedicated workers. And without giving anyone a raise.
But there is a cost. Decreased attention span. Loss of focus. Stress.
Boston Consulting Group became so concerned by this that they allowed Harvard professor Leslie Perlow to do some research on this issue on one of their consulting teams. As part of the research they carved out regular time when team members would be left along…totally.
The result? Immediate reduction in stress levels. Job satisfaction increased. Hours worked weekly decreased by 11% without any loss in productivity. Most amazingly, clients reported either no change in work product or that the consultants’ work had actually improved.
Before you think this study is an outlier, do a Google search and you’ll find there are many studies showing the same thing.
It seems that constant interruptions, the stress of always being connected to work, the disconnect from your family, friends, and non-work life in general…really do decrease your results while increasing the time you work. And more importantly, it does the same thing for your employees.
Burned out, stressed out, exhausted employees are not good for your business. Give Them A Rest.
Start small and see what happens. Tell your people to turn off their business phones at 8 in the evening and not look again until 8 in the morning. Maybe take a look Saturday morning but not again until Monday morning. See what happens. If you get the same results as Boston Consulting Group, expand the free from phone time until you get to a good balance between work and non working.
Remember, it has to come from you. And you have to follow the same rules. No sending emails to employees during phone off time and then being aggravated they didn’t immediately respond. No checking your phone every ten minutes all weekend. Who knows, you might find your own stress reduced and your productivity increased…just like your people’s.