In the technology age, we have become so “connected” that we often don’t realize the negative impact on our health and personal well-being that being constantly tied to technology and constantly working does to us. If we were Goldilocks trying to achieve the perfect porridge, we haven’t gotten the recipe quite right. From the days of the pony express and pigeon carriers leaving us too cold, we are now dishing up the scalding hot opposite amidst our days of smartphones, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. By being able to be on the clock, around the clock, we remove a sacred and very crucial ingredient to achieving passion in the workplace- the space to be and grow.
Nowadays, in many workplaces, “because we can” means we should. This constant connection leads to a lapse of available creative space. Ever here someone saying they “need to decompress”, “need a vacation”, or “need space to think”? These are not the words that a healthy, engaged, passionate employee speaks. These comments reflect that the porridge has not yet found the right balance between work/life. Work needs to be incorporated into life as an extension of the person's activities, not in a defining role.
In order to reconnect, you must allow the deconnect.
- Create within the intranet or email server a block on access to work materials on the weekend from 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Sunday evening.
- During the work week, allot each employee a weekly, company paid benefit to disconnect and power down to rejuvenate themselves.
This weekly benefit has a variety of implementation options, a few listed below:
- An hour of power down time, in which the employee can’t be at their desk or engaging in work activity. The employee autonomy is fueled as they can elect to do any alternative activity that they prefer: read a book, nap, go to gym, take a walk, etc.
- A late start Monday or early out Friday as incentive to reward employees performance and engagement in their work. Such an incentive directly shows support for employee's life outside of work
- Occasional Telecommuting options for employees. Another way to disconnect is to allow the connection on home-turf- removing the commute and allowing work to be done that day, but in the employee's way.
As every person is different, you can not mandate one activity and appeal to each person's personal passions. By providing the space for people to follow their personal passion, you appeal to their sense of autonomy and speak to the quality of their work, not the quantity. People will respond to qualitative based infrastructure within an organization more than they will to quantitative based structure.
When a workplace directly supports the personal wellness needs of an employee, they repeal the misconception that the more work you do, the better you do. This realigns the management structure to resonate more directly with the employee and thereby supporting the positive work/life balance porridge.
The links between employee engagement and good health is clear. The more personally enriched a person feels, the greater their attitude, the more productive they are, the more endorphins and higher their immune system, the less sick days that occur, and the list goes on.
Start with commonly practiced methods such as closing early the day before a holiday.
Use your knowledge of low productivity statistics to your advantage,- close during that time or mandate
the power down elected hour to occur then.
Unless your business works specifically on holiday hours, do the work technological access block on a
Do once a month or once a week a mandated power down hour.
Institute a no-cell phone policy in the cafeteria and install a wireless signal blocker.