When the pandemic first started and millions of employees got sent home, regular working hours went out the window. People didn’t know how to disconnect from work.
With no separation between work and home, employees noticed every email or notification – and feel obligated to respond, no matter the time.
But this is a recipe for burnout, and it’s important for employers to address it and set boundaries.
Here’s how you can help ensure your employees disconnect while working from home, according to leadership coach Lisa Schmidt.
1. Have personal talks with everyone. You could make a blanket statement encouraging employees to disconnect, but it’d be much more effective if you spoke to employees on a personal level.
See what’s on their plate specifically, and discuss the workload with the employee. Ask if the company’s current goals and objectives for the employees are reasonable, and see what other home responsibilities they’re juggling. Ask how much time they’re spending on the job, and make personalized suggestions to help ease the load.
2. Emphasize a healthy balance. Tell the employee how important it is to find the right balance, and work with them to come up with some kind of schedule. Pick designated work hours, or agree on a set of daily tasks.
Make sure employees know if a colleague sends an email at midnight, responding at the beginning of the next business works just fine.
3. Recognize their hard work. Reassure the employee that you know it’s a difficult time, and thank them for their hard work. Be sure to make yourself available to them to discuss any future work/life balance issues.
Even after these talks, it could be hard to get people to break their overworking habits. Here are a few other ideas, presented by HR leaders on Namely blog:
- create a policy prohibiting work emails between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.
- ban emailing employees during their vacations
- encourage employees to take breaks during the work day and pursue hobbies
- lead by example and don’t perform any work outside of normal work hours, and
- encourage employees to remove work communication apps from personal devices.