How Often Do You Take Work Home?
Are you one of the thousands of people who every evening take work home with them? Perhaps because you have too much to do so need to carry on working at home. Maybe you feel you’ll get more done away from the distractions of the office.
Have you received emails late at night from colleagues or are you the one sending them?
Partners and directors of businesses have told me they feel taking work home and working late goes with the territory of owning or running a business. They’re under so much pressure they need to do it. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re on the receiving end of one of these late-night workers, don’t feel you’re expected to take work home too or that you need to be responding. If someone else is not planning their time well or has chosen to work late, that’s up to them.
Yes, taking work home can be a good way to catch-up and get a few tasks done you can’t do in the office but if it’s interfering with your personal or family life then you need to look at how you’re working and the impact it’s having.
What are your reasons for taking work home with you?
You have too much to do – find ways to manage your workload better by reprioritising and delegating. Where is the work coming from? What can you do to stop it landing on your desk in the first place?
You get more done at home with fewer distractions – see if you can work flexibly from home every now and then. Find somewhere to work away from the distractions in your own office environment – a meeting room, local coffee shop, hotel etc.
Create clear boundaries around the technology you use and when you use it. Technology makes it ‘easier’ both to take work home with you and to be contacted 24/7. Remember – it’s a tool, not a taskmaster.
Have times when you switch if off and times when you DON’T respond to work related emails or phone calls – especially in the evening and over the weekend.
Email on smartphones is one of the biggest culprits. While it’s great to be able to respond to your email when you’re out of the office or on the move, it can be a constant intrusion if your email updates at all times of the day and night when you’re at home or no longer working.
Switch off all the email alerts on your phone. You won’t get distracted by a ping or flashing light. Check your email a few times during the day – at a time that suits you, not at the behest of every alert. Many smartphones have ‘do not disturb’ settings – set them for evenings and weekends.
There will be times when you might not be able to avoid taking work home – especially if a crisis has arisen, it’s a case of all hands on deck or there’s a deadline to meet. Make sure this is an exception and doesn’t become either expected or becomes your normal routine.
If you want to find things you can do and ways you can work better so you can stop taking work home with you – get in touch.