If you have people working remotely in your business, you’re probably used to emails flying around at all hours of the day or night.
Working from home has been life-changing for some. Your people are able to be more flexible with their time during the day, fitting in time for school pick-ups and appointments where perhaps they couldn’t before.
And in return, it means that more work is being done in the evenings.
Microsoft recently did an internal survey on how working from home affects collaboration. It’s so they can make more improvements to Teams.
It found that there are two main spikes in productivity in a typical day: One before lunch and one after lunch.
For a third of its workers, there was a third productivity spike, at around 10pm. That’s people replying to emails before bed.
Where employees have removed commuting time, their working time and availability has increased.
Within Microsoft, employees actually increased their working time by 46 minutes – or 13% each day – with a huge 28% increase in after-hours work.
And although it sounds like it could be good for business, it demonstrates just how blurred the lines between work and home life have become, post-pandemic.
Because this third peak of activity actually has the potential to cause a LOSS of productivity. Employees are feeling more pressured to respond to emails quickly, which increases their stress levels in the evenings, affecting morale and overall well-being.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said businesses need to place more emphasis on soft skills and good management practices so that employee well-being is taken care of properly.
He advises that business owners and managers set very clear expectations on after-hours work, so that employees don’t feel any undue pressure to always be available. One of these expectations should involve not feeling the need to respond to emails at the weekend, even if it’s from a manager.
Are you setting the right expectations for your people, and providing them with the tools they need to increase productivity without increasing their working hours?
Here’s a quick win you can personally drive. Instead of sending emails at night, schedule them to be sent the following morning.
When your team see the boss doing this, it could quickly become the accepted culture of the whole business. Give it a try.