“Availability” Behavior Burnout

Over the past several decades, technology has exploded in corporate America. Cell phones, smart phones, e-mail accounts, Wi-Fi access points, laptops, tablets, apps, cloud services have all been introduced in the past 20-25 years. These technologies are available to everyone and to all businesses 24×7 … in our hands. They have transformed how we all communicate and do business today. It’s really unbelievable the advancements we have seen.  The advantages are massive…reaching people immediately when you need a quick answer, downloading directions to meetings, checking on family members more readily and taking pictures or scanning receipts. There are a million advantages. However, these technologies have also taken their tolls.  We’ve all seen the small annoyances…loud cell phone talkers on planes or in bathrooms, dinner or casual meals where everyone wants to take a million pictures, watching movies in a cinema and someone’s cell phone keeps going off. We’ve seen dangerous behaviors … people checking text messages while driving or not responding when a stoplight turns green, teenagers using poor judgments on Facebook or staying up all night on iPads and computers.  These behaviors can wreak havoc and even be deadly in some cases. However, I think there is a silent corporate killer among us that we are only just beginning to see…employee burnout with the new norm of expected corporate availability. Are business emails, texts really necessary after a certain time of day?  Have we over emphasized being available 24/7 to our employers/employees? Are texts, emails more important than family dinners … enough so that you disengage from your family to respond after-hours? Is this type of “availability” behavior sustainable for years? Is it healthy? Does it affect your stress/health/family/kids? Is the sacrifice worth it? Are your best employees leaving and burning out because they are expected to be available 24/7? Is that what you want for yourself? Are you pushing your employees out the door? Lots of questions but things that employers/leaders really need to think about. They ( or you) are the ones setting the bar/behaviors of the company. They (or you) are the leaders of the company that employees are following/mirroring. They ( or you) are the ones that employees will leave because of dissatisfaction or for a better quality of life. They (or you) are ultimately the one who will be left holding the bag on an unachieved quota. Managing a corporate environment that fosters an appropriate life balance for your employees, even with all the new technologies, will pay off more for you in the long run, than bringing your employees to their knees with expected 24/7 availability. Don’t be that kind of boss or company. Learn to value and respect your employees with appropriate corporate communication expectations and the reward will be in the returns.

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