Technology Gives You Near-Ubiquitous Access to Employees. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Use It
Have you ever gotten a message that just makes your heart sink in your chest? Like, your dread piques the moment you see it? Chances are pretty good that your team members feel that way whenever you send them a particular message, particularly during certain times. Let’s consider why this may be the case, and how you can better manage your communications to more effectively communicate with your team.
Let’s begin by examining what kind of messages we’re referring to.
“Hey, I Need You to Look at This Right Now.”
Be honest with me…is this something you’ve sent to one of your team members, at the end of the day or even in the later hours of the night?
If so, this is something you should strongly consider putting a stop to for a few reasons.
First, how often do you give instructions that, if you were to receive them, you would find vague and nebulous? Secondly, how often do you give these instructions in the last moments of the day, with the unspoken suggestion that the task is to be done before your employee leaves?
If you answered “frequently” to either of these questions—heck, if you answered anything other than “never” to either of these questions—you need to pause for a moment and consider whether or not you’re being fair to your team members.
Spoiler Alert: You Aren’t
Put yourself in the shoes of one of your employees. You’re diligently working on your scheduled responsibilities, when you suddenly receive the link to a document you’d just finished work on, with the briefest of notes attached: “please fix.”
Please fix what, though?
How stressed would you be if you were suddenly sent something with the expectation that you would fix it, with no context as to what about it needed to be fixed? How long would you expect it would take you to figure out the issue, never mind actually solve it?
How stressed would you be if this was only to be expected in your workplace, that the status quo was one of uncertainty and pressure?
If this is the precedent that you are creating in your business, how stressed do you think your employees likely are?
You Need to Set the Precedent that Work Time is for Work, and Personal Time Isn’t
If your employees have gotten into the habit of keeping their work devices within reach at all hours, you need to shift the paradigm and fix that issue. How can you do that?
A good start is to stop sending messages at the end of the day with no context. Not only do you need to ensure that the task you are assigning to your employee is clearly outlined—not “please fix,” but “Widget A is experiencing XYZ issue, due to reasons Q, R, and S. Please prioritize correcting this tomorrow morning.” If the task really needs to be done, ask your employee if they are willing to work overtime (with pay) in order to complete the task—and yes, really ask.
Your team is there to help you accomplish your organizational goals within the hours you agreed upon when they were hired. Honoring that agreement, or making it worth their while if you absolutely must deviate from it, will help to keep your employees working diligently while they are within operational hours.
The remote capabilities that modern technology gives us as businesses make it even easier—arguably, too easy—to blur these lines, so you need to be diligent with yourself. After all, your team doesn’t live to work for you…they work for you so that they can live.
However, we can help you make sure that your team accomplishes as much as they can during their regularly scheduled working hours. Modern technology provides the opportunity for automation and enhanced collaboration and more, all of which contribute to your productivity and success. Give us a call at 607.433.2200 to learn more.