With the rise of technology and the ability to “work” from essentially anywhere, the 9 to 5 schedule is becoming outdated and more and more people are working remotely or making their own schedules.
While this seems like the dream to lots of worker bees, this new style of scheduling introduces an issue: When do you stop? It can be hard to tell when you’re really off the clock and when it’s okay to ignore work emails for the night. Being able to write a blog post or answer an email from anywhere makes it harder to turn a blind eye. You can step out of the office, but you also have to step out of your mind.
Now that a lot of people have their emails sent to their phones, some employers are beginning to expect employees to be available at all hours of the day. There are even laws being passed to put limits on continuing to work once you’ve left the office, like in New York where the “Disconnect From Work” bill was proposed to fine employers $250 to $500 for communicating with employees after work hours.
But even so, these expectations are becoming detrimental. A recent study out of Virginia Tech found that continuing to work after hours not only affects the employee’s anxiety and stress levels, but also those of the people around them. Think about it: If you’re “working” well into the night, are you present at the dinner table? Are you available to help Johnny with his math homework? Were you paying attention when the dog was asking to be let out?
The study said that even if someone isn’t physically doing work at home, “mere expectations of availability increase strain for employees and their significant others.”
So how do you find that sweet spot of when to unplug for the night?