The phone runs us – and that’s a problem. We are constantly checking electronic dispatches. At work, half of us keep our email open all day long due to the continuous attack of messages and our desire to provide a “great customer experience”. It’s not unusual to answer 75 emails a day.
Disconnect – And Save Your Company Overtime
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The constant barrage of electronic messages cuts into family dinners and our kids’ soccer games. Some even go to bed with the phone under their pillows, answering messages until they fall asleep and before their feet hit the floor in the morning. Business is always there. It’s a challenge for owners, managers, and salaried employees alike when there’s no break from the action.
It’s an even bigger problem for business owners if non-exempt employees work “off the clock”. While it may seem innocent enough to send a “quick email” for additional details to an hourly employee about that widget shipment, the non-exempt employee must be compensated for time spent reading and responding to electronic messages. And additional time over the 40-hour week costs the company overtime. If you don’t compensate at time and a half and get caught in an audit, the penalties and fines can be daunting.
You can eliminate a lot of time and superfluous emails by training employees to be more precise in their wording. Instead of an exchange such as “It’s coming soon.” “What?” “The widget order.” “When?” “Later this week.” “Any idea what day?” “Thursday.” “Morning or afternoon?” “Afternoon.”, a precise first email of “The widgets were shipped on Monday and due in our warehouse on Thursday by 5:00.” would have avoided a salvo of messages and ambiguity. If a precise email had been sent at 4:00, there wouldn’t need to be any follow up after hours.
So do yourself and your employees a favor. Unplug after hours. Block work emails at the end of the work day. Don’t call, either. Just put the phone down. It will provide you a refreshed workforce in the morning and may even increase your bank account. And who knows – you might enjoy the sunset.
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HRCoastal Human Resources
103 Redtail Drive, Bluffton, SC 29909