(VIDEO) Should You Have The Right To DISCONNECT From Work?

Have you ever been in an extreme concentration situation when suddenly a colleague pitches you and everything goes off? We’ve all been there! Let’s find out what Luis has to share!

This isn’t a remote work problem; it actually has always been an issue for employees. People often complain about their worldwide clients and the different time zones they have to deal with.

It can be hard, but not impossible!

Watch the video to find out how to deal with these situations!

Transcript

Luis:

Should you have the right to disconnect? Let’s talk about it over some coffee. This is Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis, and I am your host. And this is my espresso. Lovely, lovely. Now, obviously, I’m not disconnected right now. I’m recording this. Though, in a sense, I do have my notifications off so that there’s no problem with the recording. Though, actually, my Fitbit is buzzing. So sorry about that.

So, speaking of the right to disconnect, the right of having some free time without all the buzzes and notifications at work. This is a pretty serious situation when it comes to work-life balance. And it’s been a problem as everyone went remote. A lot of people are feeling that work has invaded their space.

So first, this has been problem before remote work. I have some friends in many industries, let’s say in the health industry, but also, especially, in the law industry. Like I have some lawyer friends that work in some very popular firms that have worldwide clients. And some of those friends, they used to think of it as a given that the client in Asia would call them at 4:00 am. And then they better be ready to answer. Because if not, someone else in the company would eventually get the account.

So there’s definitely been, this right to disconnecting has definitely been part of toxic workplace cultures, let’s call it that. I hate the word toxic. It sounds very entitled to use. But that’s the best I can do for now. This has been a part of bad workplace cultures for a very long time, even before remote work. But now, it’s kind of extended to everyone. And look, it’s important how you talk to your boss about it if you want to avoid it. Because I know for sure that if I go check my email at midnight and there’s a problem, doesn’t even have to be something directed directly at me, saying, “Hey, Luis, you messed up,” or something like that, just, “Luis, we have a problem,” then I’m not going to be able to sleep properly. Because my brain will immediately engage the working mode on and it’s going to be working while I’m tossing and turning in bed. So that’s not cool.

At the same time, if my bosses work on different time zones, I can’t really fault them for emailing me while they’re working when it’s convenient for them. So I do think that the best compromise, and again, this requires a good workplace culture, is really to set times where you’re off the grid, or at least you’ve disabled notifications. That’s probably more reasonable. And just let people know. Let your boss know. “Hey, boss, I’m on this time zone. Like from this hour to this hour, I won’t get notifications. I will check your stuff, I will check the stuff that you send my way first time once I start working on the next day.” Et cetera, et cetera.

This is a very reasonable proposition. Notice how I said it. I wasn’t acting entitled or anything like that. I was just explaining, “You know, hey, boss, we’ve agreed on these work hours and this is my time zone. I will get on your stuff as soon as I start my work time. But please, starting this hour, don’t expect an immediate response because I’m doing things like having dinner and sleeping.”

Look, you need to be working at a pretty bad workplace with pretty bad bosses if this doesn’t sound eminently reasonable. It’s just that people forget. You can, especially if you’re in a medium company, medium, biggish company, you can’t expect your boss, your manager, to keep on top of their mind at all times when everyone is working, what’s everyone’s working hours, especially if you have a fully distributed company.

So definitely part of the magic is finding a job with great workplace culture. But also, part of the magic is also you being responsible for your own work-life balance. Setting boundaries on your technology. Turning off notifications, starting at a certain time. And of course, managing the expectations of the people that you directly report to. And even of the people that directly report to you. Saying, “Hey guys, probably not going to be reachable from this time to this time. I hope you understand.” Most likely, they will understand. This is not an unreasonable request. And if someone treats it as an unreasonable request, that’s a red flag saying that you should probably try to look into alternatives, try to make a plan for getting out of there.

So that’s why I have to say should you have the right to disconnect. Absolutely. You need the right to disconnect. Otherwise, you’ll just be exhausted all the time and you’ll do a bad job. And then, if you’re doing a bad job, you can’t expect to hold on to your job for long.

I hope this makes sense. If it did, please consider supporting the show by pressing like, subscribe, and share it. And if you want great tips and news about remote work, please head to thinkremote.com. This was Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis. See you next week. Bye-bye.

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