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Jon Kennard

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Out of the office

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So, first question to tie in with March's theme...

What are your tips for drawing the line between work time and leisure time, now that it's so much easier to stay connected?

 

8 Responses

  1. No such thing

    Hi Jon

    I think if you work in Training there is no such thing as "out of office"

    I am always looking for new ideas, from advertising, watching the news, documentaries, films, converstions on the bus, magazines, bloggs, newspapers, radio interviews and the list goes on…

    If you have a constant thirst for knowledge and making your Training the best it can possibly be it can’t really be turned on and off at 9 and 5?

    I never go anywhere without a pack of post its and a pencil in my pocket!

    Looking forward to other replies

     

    Steve

  2. trust Steve!

    Oh, Mr Robson….you have hit the nail on the head from the point of view of "self driven commitment" to work time but what about the commitment "driven by others"……do you answer the phone at the weekend, do you take work home with you with a deadline, do you take every call that comes in on the mobile, are you at your desk 12 hours a day, do you travel to work events on Sunday night, are you happy to be away from home overnight during the woring week? (Sorry, Jon, I appreciate that some of these are not connectivity issues but it all flows over doesn’t it?)

    Tips

    • don’t answer emails immediately
    • set deadlines and plan to achieve them (or better them)
    • screen mobile calls and don’t answer if inconvenient
    • ditto texts
    • don’t have mobile email
    • take time to smell the coffee

     

    rus

    PS Since my office is my dining room at home, no I’m seldom technically "out of office"

  3. Not sure what you mean?

    Not sure what you mean Russ? I’m no Saint but I like what I do and really see no line between work time and my time…its all the same…

     

    do you answer the phone at the weekend,

    Don’t really have to but I would have no problem with it

    do you take work home with you with a deadline,

     Of course I would but I rarely have to?

    do you take every call that comes in on the mobile,

    Yes why not?

    are you at your desk 12 hours a day,

    Nothing like 12 hrs a day but I don’t have to be?

    do you travel to work events on Sunday night,

    Absolutely, many times over many weekends but it works both ways…when I want time off its easy to get.

    are you happy to be away from home overnight during the woring week?

    Don’t mind as long as not every night every week and it isn’t.

     

  4. my point……

    …..Steve, was that the initial question was specifically in relation to connectivity, which I read to mean that people at/from work can potentially get hold of you anywhere, anytime and at their convenience.

    Your answer was about the laudible self driven commitment to not switch off when not in the office because you love the job, rather than to allow yourself to be at the beck and call of other people when you are enjoying a non work activity such as family time, weekend sports and so on.

    You appear to be quite lucky (or assertive and very well organised) in that you don’t have the need to often ‘take work’ home with you……there are some people who feel increasingly expected to do so and I know of one training manager who had a breakdown due to the pressure of work and the fact that she felt unable to escape the constantly ringing phone/pinging email messages/texts all demanding answers over the weekends and in the evenings.

    Rus

     

  5. Personal

    Thanks for the explanation Russ

    The question was "What are your tips" and I can only speak for myself.

    If I was unlucky enough to have a job that meant I had to "escape" because I was bombarded with "stuff" I didn’t want I would hope I would leave…

    I know quite a few people who work in Banking and Law etc and earn 10 times what I do but also do 50 times more work including weekends…not my idea of a life!

     

  6. too late!

    Steve

    "I know quite a few people who work in Banking and Law etc and earn 10 times what I do but also do 50 times more work including weekends…not my idea of a life!"

    Where was this quote when I wanted career advice comments for my book?

    Rus

     

  7. True

    Its also very true Russ. I work in The City and am surrounded by them.

    I’ve heard some incredible stories of the "stay late" culture in banks and law firms…imagine the whole office looking over their glasses and staring at their watches at the person who dares to leave before 8pm…and that was from an Administrator…the Lawyers are there till midnight!

     

  8. “I’m sorry – I’m out of the office right now”

    Something I’ve noticed across roles is that, provided you’re not in a situation where (as Steve and Rus describe) you’re expected either contractually or as a part of the culture to put in as many extra hours as possible, one of the most important aspects of stepping away from the desk is to manage contacts’ expectations. If you make clear exactly when someone can expect to hear back or know that a request has been actioned, it’s much easier to stay on top of things without ever worrying about turning on the BlackBerry or "just checking in". 

    The system that left the biggest impression on me (which, admittedly, isn’t for everyone) was a marketer who made a point of taking what they called an "email sabattical" when they went on annual leave. Rather than posting the usual out of office respons, they made it clear that, for their two week absence, any emails sent would be automatically deleted. Out of politeness, they sent out regular warnings before going away so that everyone who would be affected day-to-day was aware of what was going to happen. While some may see it as a little extreme, it perfectly set up contacts’ expectations, providing the necessery impetus to evaluate whether their request was urgent and, if so, could it be handled by anyone to whom duties had been handed over.

    After every holiday, she came back to a clean inbox, sent out a notice explaining that if there was anyting pressing then she should be notified that morning and saved hours of trawling through old email chains, tasks that had been completed by others and the countless messages that would otherwise have been deleted after only requiring a cursory glance.

    It may not be effective to shut everything down every weekend but, when it’s important to draw clear boundaries to enjoy some downtime, it can be a major timesaver whilst still keeping everybody happy.

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard
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