New collaboration tools are providing businesses with a whole new host of benefits. With instant messaging, video conferencing, voicemail and presence features, employees are able to stay connected to their business affairs at any time of day. The tools also give workers the power to be available to solve customer problems, regardless of location or device.
But because collaboration tools like unified communications make it easy for employees to stay connected their colleagues and their work, it’s important for business owners and managers to understand the importance of making sure employees have time to unplug from their devices during the day.
Recent survey numbers show that 64 percent of American men logged in to check work email while on vacation and 57 percent of women said working while on vacation was normal. Expecting your employees repeatedly check messages while they’re taking PTO is a recipe for serious stress and burnout — even for the most dedicated of employees.
Motivated employees certainly don’t want to fall behind. They want to stay in the communications loop and stay on top of what’s going on in the office while they’re gone. But in order to allow these kinds of employees the peace of mind to unplug during a vacation, employers should consider explicitly telling them to unplug, letting them know that they expect they’ll have to spend a few hours catching up on what they missed when they get back from vacation.
Similarly, if you’re a manager and notice an employee is logged in to the company’s unified communications platform at all times of the day or responding to emails at midnight, it might be worth having a conversation with that employee to make sure he or she is not overburdened with work. Let that employee know that it’s not only okay to unplug at the end of the day, it’s something that should be done to preserve their health, because everyone needs some time rest and relax at the end of the day in order to decompress and keep stress levels down.
There is always more work to be done. A recent study in Forbes reported that the average worker has between 30 and 100 projects on their plate at one time. Just because the work exists doesn’t mean that employees should be responsible for working perpetually to complete those tasks. Sometimes it’s important to consider delegating work assigned to a burdened employee to someone else whose load at that time is a bit lighter.
In addition to worrying about the mental health and wellness of your employees, business owners should also be wary about security vulnerabilities that are made evident when employees are connecting remotely while they’re on vacation. According to recent numbers, 32 percent of employees who work while on vacation are using unsecured cloud services to access business-related data and 35 percent of employees are taking their business devices, loaded with secure data, away with them on vacation.
While unified communications solutions provide businesses with a variety of benefits that enable them to operate at a much more efficient level, it’s important to remember that like anything else, there are certain pitfalls that forward-thinking decision makers can avoid.
By making sure your employees know the benefits of unplugging when the time calls for it, you’ll protect their health and make sure they’re more productive when they come back for work with a fresh perspective.
By: Dana Jaffe