An interesting article appeared in the Sunday Pioneer Press regarding the 24/7 connectivity of the business world, and the problems it creates for employees’ mental health, productivity and turnover. Everyone is reachable everywhere today. It is rare to find someone who doesn’t own a cell phone. Some people even have two, a personal cell phone and a cell phone provided by work. Employees frequently check their e-mails when on vacation or home sick.
In the recent past, all the new developments in technology helped boost employee productivity. However, all this technology is coming at a price. The Associated Press reports, “Information overload cost American businesses just under $1 trillion in employee time lost to needless emails and other distractions in 2010.” Employees who are overworked and undervalued are at risk for burnout which often leads to employee turnover all resulting from employees being connected to the workplace 24/7. Most recently, employees affected by the Great Recession were fearful of taking time off, so they worked during vacation, at home in the evening, and also on the weekends.
Businesses are taking notice of these issues and implementing some creative changes. Volkswagen turns off email to some employees’ 30 minutes after their shift ends. Goldman Sachs is urging junior staff to take weekends off, and not check email or do work. BMW will be implementing rules in 2014 that will prevent workers from being contacted after hours. Businesses are seeing the benefits of having employees “escape” from work, so when they are at work, they are more productive.
What is your company’s practice regarding evening and weekend work? Are your employees showing signs of burnout? Employees are the biggest asset and biggest expense for many businesses. Now is the time to take the steps to do what is necessary to protect the asset! Let your employees know it is okay to be focused on home life when they are at home.