Technology has done many amazing things for business today. We can now be connected with a wider range of people across the globe at an instant. However, this also means that it has become much harder to truly disconnect from work and enjoy the rest of life after the work day is finished. Unfortunately, this can also frequently lead to decreased employee happiness.
How do you counteract this, though? In today’s world of constant connectivity and technology use, is it still possible for employees to truly disconnect and leave work at the office? Can fixing this increase employee happiness?
Yes, absolutely. You simply need to take one step: make a rule banning work email outside of official business hours.
For this to truly work, however, it must be done at all levels within the company. Encouraging employees not look at work email outside of business hours is a great step to take. However, if management still sends out messages on nights or weekends, it makes it more difficult for employees to feel comfortable disconnecting.
Even if the email sent isn’t of significant importance and was meant for employees to receive the next work day, this still contributes to anxiety that an important message could come during these hours. Instead, management should hold itself to this same rule as much as possible, especially when it comes to sending emails to employees.
If you absolutely need to write an email to your employees after work hours, use a tool such as Boomerang to schedule the email to be sent at the start of the next work day. If your employees are sticking to the policy of not checking their work email after work, then they will receive the email the same time as they would anyway. More importantly, though, by doing this you set an example that this policy applies to everyone at the company.
Make sure to inform your employees that this rule is not punitive in any way, but for their own happiness and well being. If your employees can shed the stresses of work when they go home at the end of the day they will be more likely to come back to work refreshed and energized to tackle the work day. This is key to both minimizing burnout, and increasing employee happiness.
Establishing this kind of structure will also boost productivity during the work day, since there are more strict guidelines in place. It’s easier to slack off or waste time at work if there’s an expectation to make up for that time at home later that night.
Now, obviously this solution is not possible for every company, and sometimes emergencies happen outside of work hours that need to be responded to quickly. Consider whether there might be a solution outside of email, such as phone calls or texting, that would work for these situations in your company, and establish what those lines of communication will be. This way, your employees can still disconnect from email, but still have a plan in place for emergencies.
By doing this, not only will you see greater employee happiness, but your company will be in a better place for it.