Leaders, Work/Life Balance Starts With You

Shevonne talks about the news that some countries are creating a law to stop employers from contacting employees outside of work hours. It shows how leaders are the ones who help work/life balance for themselves and their employees.

Podcast Transcript

Hey, everyone; hopefully, you’re having a wonderful start to February. Sorry for the hiatus, but it had to be. I was selling the house. And on top of that, we had like three snowstorms. So trying to clean the house with a toddler because my cleaner couldn’t come and then buy a place simultaneously. So I got the home that I wanted. So very happy about that. Then I got the unfortunate news that the contract we’re on has some reductions in that. So I focused on that to make sure that my people were taken care of. And then January is always just a tough month. It’s the month that my sister passed away. And it’s also my mom and her their birthdays, and my mom gets very depressed, you know, it would be normal for anyone during this month. So trying to make sure that I was there for my mom and me and everyone else. So as you can tell, January was very hectic. As one of my co-workers said, it felt like it was 74 days in that month compared to the 31. So all that said, I am back. And I am ready to start talking about everything about productivity, work-life balance, working from home. Also, what I learned as a project manager/program manager, I guess I should say that I am now. Still, all that aside, I did want to talk about one thing that is happening in some countries, where they are basically putting into law, that management and other co-workers cannot send messages to people after a certain hour, which I think is so great. And it seems like Australia might be heading in that direction. But recently, Belgium put that into place. And other countries that have that as well are France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. And I think that that is really good to happen.

Because one thing that sometimes happens is that you start getting messages depending on when your work hours are for me, I try to shut down by five because I have to go to daycare and pick up the baby. I do leave my notifications on till six. But that is like the max that I’ll leave it on. And then I basically have all my notifications muted having to do with work. If an email comes in, I ignore it. Because I know that if I look at that email, I’m going to do something and probably work till like 910 11 at night. And there have been like a here are there instances where I’ve had to work those hours, but very rarely have I had to work those hours. And I feel like one thing, especially when you’re in a leadership position, you definitely have to be mindful of that. I did have one instance where a manager on my team was emailing people at like seven at 9pm. And then the people felt as though they had to respond. And we actually had one person quit. So I told her, you might not expect them to respond. But your employees will think that they have to answer, especially if they’re new employees. They’re new to the company. They’re new to the team. They don’t know how things work. They probably came from backgrounds where they had really toxic work environments or environments where the managers were on top of them. So you don’t know where they’re coming from. And they don’t know what is expected of them and how the environment is where we are.

So you should either wait till the next day to send that message out. Or put a little note in there saying, hey, I do not expect you to respond. And please don’t. I’m just sending this out. So I don’t forget. And if you do that, the person will usually think, okay, all right, cool. Like, I’ll just leave this till tomorrow. So I guess that it is really nice that other countries are taking that step. I feel, and I think, that many of us do in the US. We are way behind in putting things in place to take care of our employees, and some companies take advantage. One thing that has been bothering me is these companies let their people work from home. It’s worked. Productivity is up. They’re still financially great, but they still are now forcing people to come back into the office is one of the reasons why the great resignation is happening. People have realized they don’t want to deal with this crap.

That is one of the only things I will say that has been good about COVID co. It has basically taught people what they really want. And people don’t want to keep doing the same thing as they have been doing before the pandemic. The pandemic has changed us, not just how physically it has changed us. When I say that, I mean things as though, you know, can’t be close to people keep six feet away, like not even that mentally it has changed us. A few of my friends, and I will tell you now as I went through a very tough time during COVID, I was very depressed. I felt as though I had no room to breathe, I had a baby, I was taking care of still dealing with my young adult kids, on top of the fact that my job did not stop and they were going as though nothing was happening. It just did not stop. And then on top of that, I was still trying to finish my MBA, I was very depressed. At the beginning of COVID, especially fearing this new pit, this new virus, nobody knew what the hell it was. People were trying to do research, there were no vaccines. We were basically stuck in our homes. It was a very trying time. And during that time, I realized there were things I was gonna stop doing. There were changes I wanted to make, and I’m making them. I’ve decided to sell my house. I love my home.

But I’ve realized that I want to be somewhere where I can have a nice big yard if this ever happens again; knock on wood, I hope it doesn’t. But I want to have a place where my grandson can be outside playing and have his own little playground. And we’re not just stuck in the house. I want to be somewhere where it’s the majority of the time it’s sunny outside. I don’t know why this happened. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Virginia just becomes very draggy. And like it’s just it’s always gloomy. I feel like there hasn’t been much that I could do outside. And so I decided to sell my house and relocate. And that’s what I was doing in January: making sure the house was ready to be presentable to buyers and that I could buy the home that I wanted because I am moving to Florida. And in Florida right now, real estate is booming because people are in the same position as me. They’ve realized I want to be somewhere warm, I want to be somewhere Sonny, I want to be somewhere, especially the fact that it’s not even working from home now. It’s working from anywhere. And some of these companies that are taking that away from people are just frustrating. And just it angers me. It’s like letting your people work wherever they want to work where they’re happiest. You will decrease employee turnover, and you will increase morale. Why don’t you like that? And I think that that’s one thing about this pandemic is made us realize we want to be happy. Work is not everything. We have a life outside of work. And I think that that’s one thing that I’m very happy about.

People are starting to realize that in the past in the US, it’s always been we work, work work. We’re always busy, busy, busy, while other countries work to play, work to fund their lives, and have fun. And I feel like, in the US, I think people are starting to wake up that they want to be able to take vacations, they want to be able to be happy wherever they’re working. And so I think that it is really great that on top of all that. Some countries realize that they also want to make sure that these employers are not sitting there forcing people to work crazy hours. They should not be contacting their employees at 7pm 9pm. And I have heard some situations where these people will message their employees at like, seven 8pm And then they’re like we need this by tomorrow. I actually saw a funny tech talk about it, and I was like, oh yeah, that’s happened to a few of my friends. It’s happened to me actually back in the day. Like we need this tomorrow, you work your as s off to get it done. And then the next day, oh, it could have waited till the next day or next week.

So basically, you’re now tired, exhausted, and it wasn’t even needed when this supposes that emergency happens. And then the other thing too is the fact that it causes burnout. I’m glad that people are finally talking about burnout. Burnout is real burnout is there. And there have been in some cases where people have actually committed suicide, or they’ve actually just died of heart failure because they were just so burnt out. We don’t want anyone to get to that point. So I think that definitely, for leaders, like we need to just make sure that we’re doing things, we need to make sure that we realize that people are looking up to us. And they’re also looking for us an example of what to do. If you’re not working at seven at 8pm with your people, don’t message them. Again, if you’re someone who’s like, Oh, crap, if I don’t send it now, I’m gonna forget, do what I told my manager to do. Just put a little caveat in there and just be like, hey, FYI, I do not expect you to get back to me right away. I’m just doing this. So I don’t forget what the person’s like, okay, I can wait till tomorrow if you need to send it out at that point, my recommendation is, instead of sending it out, write yourself a little to-do, get some Post-Its and post them somewhere, there are even apps that act like sticky notes for your computer, put a sticky note on there, create a to-do list on the task management app that you’re using, or even send an email.

You can even schedule an email to be sent out and just be like, hey, reminder, send this out. Because then you still have that thing that even if you send something out after the work hours have ended, the person is still gonna look at it. Because when they see that the headline says that the sender is their boss, they’re going to look at it, and it’s gonna cause a sense of dread or a purpose of like, Oh, crap, I gotta respond. Even if you say, Hey, you don’t have to respond, they probably will. So just better yet, send yourself your own reminder to send them something the next day.

We as leaders need to realize that our people depend on us. We’re the ones that exemplify how we are supposed to work. And I’m not saying that leaders are like, like, the most important people in the whole damn world, I’m just saying the fact that you are their manager, you are the ones that are leading them. And so they are looking to see what you’re doing. And if you’re setting the example of working at 9pm, 10pm, the people will think that that is what they need to do as well. So you really have to be mindful of what you’re doing and what you’re showing to your team. And that’s all I really wanted to talk about. I’m so glad that these companies are doing this because this will definitely reduce the overwork, stress, and anxiety that goes along with someone feeling as though they can never turn off people messaging you at all hours and expecting things to get done that night. So just wanted to put that out there. This is definitely more for people in leadership positions, just to think about what your actions are doing and what people are feeling and reacting when you make do an action. So hopefully everybody has a wonderful weekend.
Today’s my dad’s birthday, so we’re going to go celebrate it. He’s turning 75, which is still shocking to me that my dad is 75, but I’m glad to still have my parents in my life. So everybody has a wonderful weekend and take care. Thank you so much for listening to the productivity pod podcast. Be sure to visit productivity pi.com To access the show notes, check out the videos, check out the other content. And also, if you can, please subscribe, give it a five-star rating and review, and I will talk to you next week.

Bye for now

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