Must we be responsive over the weekend?

Posted on January 14, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

We know that in this new world the work-place has expanded into our home life (and hopefully some of our home life has moved into the workplace), but I find it increasingly difficult to get away on the weekend.  My computer is just sitting there waiting for me to visit.  It’s my window into the web but it’s also the portal that others use to reach me.  Usually that is through email, but increasingly it’s through my facebook  page, my blog, or some other social network tool.  And I feel compelled to be instantly responsive…that is I feel it’s necessary to respond to these notes as soon as possible, even if it’s time I’d normally spend doing something else. 

So the questions I’ve been pondering lately are just what the title of this blog asks…must we be responsive over the weekend?  In an ‘instantly responsive’ world, does that mean we must reply even if outside ‘reasonable work hours’?

In my case, unless there is some very compelling reason not to respond (such as my child’s basketball game, guests visiting, trips outside the home, etc.), I feel pressure to check my email and other sites and respond immediately, if at all possible.  Do you?


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2 Responses to “Must we be responsive over the weekend?”

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Nah… We all need our personal time. Our increased connectedness should not intrude on personal time. With that said, I find it easier to work and see that I’m working at times when maybe I should be more focused on personal time. I did not answer any e-mails during my son’s basketball game, and did not bring my blackberry to my squash matches or on our day ski trip this weekend. That is a good thing. Responses can wait.

Brave question, thanks for asking.  For me there are three parts to my answer:First, boundaries.  In all facets of life we need them; work / life balance is such a facet.  Each individual should understand their personal boundaries for responsiveness and stick to them.  For me, my job (leading a software organization) is naturally 365x7x24 so I’m ok with being needed and responsive at wierd hours.  Second, fairness.  Without equitable treatment, nobody’s happy. Does your compensation justify the weekend work?  Is your employer getting extra labor without paying?  In my case, the balancing tradeoff for a 365x7x24 job is flextime.  Busy peaks are matched with extra downtime.  On the final ledger everyone wins – I work when my company needs me and I have sufficient downtime to feel fairly treated.Third, process improvement.  Why does somebody need you on the weekend?  There’s no such thing as an "unexpected weekend", so how should we improve our planning and scheduling so work gets done during regular work time?
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