There aren’t many people around who aren’t feeling the pressure of our ‘always-on’ culture. Perhaps you’re a business owner who is feeling stuck in an unavoidable position of never being able to fully disconnect. Or maybe you’re an employee in a business where the culture makes you always feel pressurised to have your work phone to hand.
When I was researching this article, I didn’t have to try too hard to find stats like;
- 1 in 3 people are mentally unable to switch off from work
- 26% of people find the pressure to be ‘always-on’ interferes with their personal life
- 20% of people feel mentally exhausted by their constant connection to work
Now have a quick look across your business. Who are the people behind those statistics?
Switching on to switching off
As easy as it was to find those, frankly quite scary stats, it’s important to say there is a groundswell of people pushing back against this.
It’s important to remember that the technological advances over recent years have been enormous. At first, companies were slow to react to the enormous potential for flexible and remote working, tech solutions were unreliable, complicated and often prohibitively expensive. As that changed, more and more organisations embraced the efficiencies available to them. Almost overnight people could work from anywhere with the need for little more than a compatible device and a Wi-Fi connection.
Large businesses could reduce their estate overheads by hotdesking and remote working. Small businesses could operate from the convenience of their local coffee shop.
Perhaps it was inevitable that this convenience would eventually worm its way into the heart of our homes, intrude on our down time and, gradually, blur the lines to such an extent that people started to feel guilty for not being online.
As I alluded to earlier though, there is a growing trend against this. Mindfulness, digital detoxing and switching off is ‘in fashion’. Although it’s likely to take some time for everyone to catch up!
Help your business by switching off
It’s important to take heed of the health warnings that are implicit in how people feel about being always-on. If your staff are feeling under pressure and stressed, there is a very real risk of them developing health problems and compulsive behaviours.
Who hasn’t spotted the people in the room who repeatedly check their phone even when there haven’t been any tell-tale pings of emails and messages arriving?
Here are three reasons why switching off is positive for your business:
1. You’ll stop damaging your reputation
Whether it’s staff or clients you’re communicating with, sending emails at anti-social times damages your reputation.
It sends a message that you are overstretched and perhaps even that you aren’t on top of things. For both staff and clients, that’s not a useful image to project. For example, if your clients feel you’re overstretched they may lose confidence in your capacity and ability to meet their needs.
Ultimately, this could lead to them looking for alternative providers who do have the capacity to deliver what’s promised.
2. Your staff will stay with you
There’s no two ways about it, recruiting and training staff is costly. So if you’re losing people because there are other employers out there who take better care of their staff, you’re throwing money away.
High staff turnover results in lower morale and a negative company culture.
Recent Randstad research revealed that more than 50% of staff who responded would consider leaving a company who put profits and revenues above the wellbeing of their staff.
Supporting your staff to know that flexible working doesn’t have to be repaid by sacrificing their personal life, you take staff loyalty to a whole new level.
3. All work and no play…
…make Jack and Jill dull employees! When people feel dull, it’s just a short jump to disengagement. If, as a manager or business owner, you’re promoting an environment where a 12-hour day is considered the norm, as the Spice Girls once said, “Stop. Right now!”
Promote a healthy work-life balance supported by manageable work schedules and you’ll find your team will work 21% harder for you!
Time to make a change?
Achieving significant culture change in your business can be complicated. You need to bring your staff on the journey with you whilst also maintaining a successful business and, ideally, continuing to grow.
Book a call to find out how we can help.