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Constant Connectivity Is Killing Your Employees, But You Can Stop It

Employee Management Tips - TBM Payroll, Glens Falls, NY

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Constant Connectivity Is Killing Your Employees, But You Can Stop It

A big factor in stress is digital tools. They may help you do more with less, but they also demand more from your employees. Imagine a souped-up engine or an overclocked computer: You may get impressive results at first, but if you don’t manage that power, the strain eventually takes down the whole system.

After all, employees are not engines. They need downtime to refuel their brains, and it’s up to you to make sure they get enough of it.

The double-edged tech sword

Maybe you’re reading this on your computer at work. Maybe you’re on a smartphone or a tablet. Regardless of how you consume media, you have a variety of options at every hour of the day.

Your employees have the same constant access to the internet, but having that access doesn’t mean they owe you more of their time. Work technology and personal technology — though often the same tools — create distinct impressions on their users. You might love Skyping with your daughter who’s studying abroad, but when you finally visit her, your phone will quickly become the enemy if it blows up with work emails.

1. Realistically assess the job responsibilities.

What are the responsibilities of each role? A salesperson might keep more flexible hours than a marketer, but that doesn’t mean every salesperson should keep the ringer on, on loud, throughout the night. Your expectations determine to what degree your employees feel comfortable unplugging.

Last year, Family Living Today put together a sobering infographic about work-life balance in America. In the study, 66 percent of respondents said they didn’t believe they had a healthy work-life balance, and a third of employed respondents said that on average, they worked on weekends and holidays. Even if you like to work on the weekends, don’t expect your employees to do the same. Discern how much work each role should include, then account for that in employee schedules. If the work and the schedule don’t fit, reduce the workload or hire more help.

2. Recognize the differences among “emergencies. “

According to the same Family Living Today infographic, nearly 60 percent of employees surveyed believed that technology has spoiled the modern family dinner because they agreed, their employers expected them to respond to messages within the hour; another 40 percent said it was okay to answer an urgent work email at the dinner table.

As a counterpoint, tell your team members they don’t have to solve client problems as soon as they arise. Unless the client has a legitimate emergency, direct employees to send a simple email that says: “Thanks, I got your email and will send an update soon.”

3. Encourage vacation time and plan accordingly.

Make employees use their vacation days. While you’re at it, you should use your own. Ensure that employees see you taking care of your own mental health so they know they’re allowed to do the same.

Set up processes and schedule meetings to address any potential problems ahead of time. That way, your team can handle whatever comes up while you’re gone without bothering you on the beach. Our operational manager schedules a meeting with anyone about to leave on vacation to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

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