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Policies, Procedures & SafeguardsMarch 18, 2015
It’s a very common belief that businesses who work longer and harder will be more successful. This may be true for a while, but long work hours can eventually cause employees to be less engaged and less productive. One common example is the way companies use email.
Bosses who send work email late at night are sending out a signal to their team that they should be doing the same thing. If you have ever sent late night email, ask yourself whether you intended your employees to reply straightaway, or whether you were just unloading an idea you had late at night. Either way, it unintentionally keeps your employees connected to the office.
Ambitious employees may see it as an opportunity to be more successful by doing what the boss does. When other employees hear them talk about what was in an email last night, they start to do it too. Even employees who are not ambitious may fear they are missing out on something important and, because their devices are always turned on, give it their attention. Either way, the message is clear: after hours email is part of the culture.
Unfortunately, employees who are hired for their creativity, motivation and inspiration, can be depleted by long hours. The brain needs downtime to replenish itself and time away from the office helps to spark off new ideas and ways of doing things.
Consider the concept of “zmail”, a policy created by a US company that discourages email between 10pm and 7am during the week and all day on weekends. The policy does not stop people from working in those hours. If something is that important, it may need a phone call. Otherwise, employees can write the email and then program it to send, or manually send it the next day. Zmail is a clear cultural message that downtime is important.
Another way to deal with the mistaken belief that more work equals more success is to replace “time management” with “attention management”. This emphasises the attention you give a project is just as important as the length of time spent on it. To encourage attention, employers may put away devices when speaking to employees and have a no-device policy in meetings.
Employers need an enforceable email policy that suits their culture and also include what kinds of behaviours are part of their culture in the employee handbook. Call Employsure for advice today on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below.
*Sourced from AFR