Today the boss and your colleagues can reach you 24-7, at night, on vacation, at your kid’s soccer game.
Technology has been seeping into off work hours for years and the problem is worldwide. Volkswagen AG recently passed a corporate-wide rule banning business emails between 6:15 am and 7 p.m. German employees love it.
In the U.S. the issue has resulted in overtime lawsuits.
Managers can solve the problem.
* Build in predictability. Nancy Rothbard, a Wharton School management professor recommends spending part of Friday afternoon scheduling time to complete mandatory projects for the next week so you won’t end up doing them at night.
* Schedule a 4 p.m. triage. Decide what your team should finish by the next day. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, asks “If an evil villain cut the power, what would you still do?”
* Use lunchtime for check-ins. Make social and brainstorming rounds while grabbing some food. That way you get interaction, but can still deal with anything that comes up before quitting time, Vanderkam says.
Other experts, quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, say the open configuration of offices is partly to blame because no one gets to concentrate.