Leadership + Management | By Tom Murphy,

The Myth of Constant Availability

One of the best things about technology is how easy it is for people to get in touch.

If your daughter is studying abroad in Spain, you’re going to love the instant communication options technology allows. You’ll be able to hear her voice, see her face, and check out her awesome food pics.

But what if you’re off visiting your daughter in Spain and your phone is blowing up with texts and emails about work? You’re probably going to be pretty darn frustrated about the easy accessibility that modern technology provides.

Being constantly accessible is definitely a double-edged sword.

The importance of powering down

Sure, you could leave your lights on 24 hours a day. But you don’t.

Because you know what’s going to happen. They’ll run hot and burn out fast. It will cost you time and money to replace them more frequently. And, deep down inside, you know it’s not really necessary to have them burning all day and night. It’s a waste of perfectly good energy.

But light bulbs are pretty cheap and easy to come by. So maybe you get a little lazy about leaving them on more than you should.

Now imagine you just bought yourself a new car. You did a lot of research until you found one with all of the right features. The process was time-consuming and the cost was significant, but it’s just what you need, so you feel good about the investment. It runs great, it’s reliable, and you’re confident it will get you where you want to go.

So now that you have this awesome new piece of machinery at your disposal, you’re going to leave it running 24/7, right?

Of course not! That would be ridiculous. It’s bad for the engine, it’s a waste of fuel, and it will shorten your vehicle’s lifespan. Plus, leaving your car running makes it much easier for someone to steal it out from under you.

Let’s be real. You don’t leave things running all the time because it just doesn’t make any sense.

And yet we’ve bought into the myth

Somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves that, unlike our lights and vehicles, we need to be on (and available!) all the time. That our company does. That our employees do.

But this doesn’t make sense either.

Let’s say you get a package delivered to your door at 10:00 pm. Did you really expect it to arrive that late or are you feeling a little perplexed? Are you wondering how long that delivery person been working? How tired are they? If this is really the best use of resources? It’s late. And dark. And potentially unsafe. What if the driver falls asleep at the wheel? When it comes right down to it, would you be just as happy receiving your stuff in the morning?

Companies, please take note: Many customers will actually choose to do business with a corporation that’s known for being good to their employees over one that isn’t. Research also shows that customer service, retention, and overall profitably numbers are higher in organizations that take care of their people.

Taking care of your people means encouraging them to take breaks. And we’re not just talking about mandated shift breaks here. We’re talking about time away from work, and without 24-hour accessibility.  

Does your team need a vacation? Do you?

PTO shouldn’t stand for Paid Time On. You and your employees need a break.

Just like that sweet Tesla in the driveway, people can only go so long before they need to re-charge. If you don’t allow them to do it, you’re not going to get the performance you want.

And yes, this includes you. Even if you’re the all-knowing top dog, you need time off in order to be your best. And you shouldn’t be racked with guilt for taking it.

So, turn off the lights, park your car, and give up the idea that you and your employees need to be available at all times.

Or just keep on working… until all your lights burn out.

 

At Sonus Benefits, we build cost-effective, long-lasting benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health. Located in Sunset Hills, MO, we help clients throughout the Missouri and Illinois area to identify and manage complex employee benefits challenges. If you would like help managing your employee programs, we may be the insurance consultant and business partner you need.