The need for people leaders to support and model disconnecting from work is more important than ever. Over the pandemic, you have probably become very familiar with the feeling of “just one more email” or “I have nothing else to do so might as well keep my laptop open”. I know from my own experience that during lockdown 1, I was working at least 2 hours more per day. That comes to an extra working day per week!
While leaders can tell their teams to take breaks & finish on time, it feels hollow when they are not doing the same. How can you leave when you know you’ll get emails at 7pm, 9pm and 11pm as they continue working? Or that you’ll get a text from them on their day off?
So what can leaders do?
Leave loudly: When you finish for the day, or take a break for lunch, TELL everyone what you’re doing. Make it normal to take time away during the day.
Build breaks into your team culture: Try booking in a 30 min Wednesday afternoon break time for everyone. Ask everyone to snap a picture of what they get up to, to make sure they don’t just spend time doing emails, and make sure you join in yourself.
Find the balance: when your team has had a busy period of time, give them an early finish or an afternoon off. And take it yourself!