We are living in a world of instant gratification. We are inundated with email, texts, instant messaging, Instagram, and numerous other communication platforms. For many, work is a 24/7 lifestyle and for others, it is M-F 8-5. What is right?
There is no right answer. But there are boundaries that can be set. When accepting the job or taking on a new communication tool, discuss with your supervisor what is required for the job and what works best for both of you.
If you happen to be a personal assistant to a high level executive who travels often, you may be needed to help make arrangements for travel or to handle their personal life. It may be agreed upon in advance that you are on call.
If you are normally a weekday worker who has a boss who sends emails over the weekend or in the middle of the night, my suggestion is to 1) make sure your phone has the Do Not Disturb activated and 2) to let your boss know that you are fine with receiving but that you won’t respond until the next work day morning. If your boss tends to send thoughts randomly, set your alarm to get up earlier to review and prepare to answer early in the day.
Personally, I go off the grid at night and on weekends and try not to respond to business emails during those times. If it is an emergency, most would send me a text or call me. I am trying to get better at writing myself a note when I have a thought so as not to send things to my co-workers during off times.
Does your boss expect you to be on call during vacation? All of us need a mental health break. Try to meet with your boss a week prior to leaving so you can cover all that could come up. Make sure you have complete notes so that those covering you can gain an understanding of what has been discussed, what needs to be done and who to contact. Let them know that you are only to be contacted in case of an emergency. Do a recap the day before you leave to confirm their understanding.
With younger generations joining the workforce, there is more emphasis on work/life balance. Who knows, maybe it is good for all of us!