Why We Shouldn’t Tell Workers When to Unplug
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.
This week, John and Rachel discuss a Forbes article, “Why We Shouldn’t Tell Workers When to Unplug” by Susanna Schrobsdorff.
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John: All right. Happy Monday, we’re back with another episode of the Green Apple Slices. Rachel Fisch is with me, the National Bookkeeping Grand Puba of Deloitte, or something like that.
Rachel: Something like that, something like that. National Bookkeeping Lead, but I think they just made it up, I’m not sure it means anything.
John: Deloitte Canada. That’s awesome, I didn’t know you guys had a nation up there. That’s really cute, I think it’s adorable.
Rachel: We do. It has been called North Minnesota but it’s actually a whole country.
John: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. But yeah, I’m excited because I found this article that was on Time Magazine and it was called “Why We Shouldn’t Tell Workers When to Unplug” written by Susanna Schrobsdorff and I thought that this was a really great article and one that was very pertinent for you to read, Rachel.
Rachel: Yes. So I’m looking at this and I’m like, “I am the absolute worst”, like if you want an expert on a topic, I can be your expert on how not to have life balance. That’s where I come in. That’s don’t do whatever Rachel did.
John: Yeah, you probably read this on your phone at 10:30 P.M.
Rachel: You know me so well.
John: That’s so meta how you did that, reading about unplugging on your phone after hours. But I think it’s really interesting, they brought up some examples of how there are some countries, in Europe especially like Daimler where they actually have software that deletes any incoming emails to your work email when you’re on vacation.
Rachel: And my whole body cringed because no, you don’t delete it, you forward it. You send in “Out of office”, you take it not able to go to your phone, something like that, you don’t delete them. Oh, my Lord.
John: I thought that was amazing, but I guess they’re doing something right because I’ve heard of them.
Rachel: DaimlerChrysler, yeah, you’ve heard of them.
John: Exactly, exactly. But that’s the thing that you brought up is Colorado State University did a study where they found that basically in the US, and I’m sure, Canada, where appearing super busy is almost a point of pride, where people can’t really control themselves and you’re trying to keep up with the Jones’ sort of a thing.
Rachel: But then also is appearing really Zen. So how do you be that cool, laidback, “Everything is fine, dude” and yet, “Oh, but I’m so busy all the time?” So I do think that Europe gets a lot right and I think they just have a completely different way of thinking, I think just their culture as a whole, the way that their politics are related, all of those things. It’s just different than here where it’s all about power-by-the-hour and it’s all about getting in your billable time, all of those things, not that I know anything about that at Deloitte, getting all of that stuff done and what you have to do to achieve those results.
For example, yesterday, I was at a really great session and learned a lot and it was awesome, but it set me behind, I felt, from other things that I needed to accomplish before my work week started. And so now I’ve got like this little extra stress because I wasn’t able to do that or wasn’t able to catch up on work or wasn’t able to do, right? So for example in the evening, I work all day, a couple things I wasn’t able to get done during the day I don’t want to do during dinner time, I’m going to wait until the kids go to bed, catch up on a few things, fire off a couple emails just to make sure that people are getting communicated to so that I know I can kind of start fresh the next day and if I didn’t do that, I would not be sleeping well, I’d be tossing and turning, “Oh, shoot, I really need to get that done.”
I hear that, I appreciate that corporations are seeing that there is a problem, that there are cellphone addictions, that there are other things that are at play here that may affect productivity but don’t tell me to not do something that will work toward completion.
John: Yeah, that’s interesting that you brought up because Colorado State University actually found that even just thinking about email, just that anticipatory stress just causes you to get exhausted and then morale goes down. So even whether you’re looking or not, just thinking about looking is just the same as looking really.
Rachel: Yeah. And I think it was the French government that instituted the right to disconnect. What that’s saying is that your employer should not be able to expect you to do this after hours. However, for me as an employee, there are things that I may want to do to set my mind at ease and I don’t think that that should be legislated or turned off or whatever.
John: Right, right. And that’s why I think at the end of the article pretty much she says you should discourage them but you can’t really control it because people do have flexible schedules and maybe people leave early to go pick up the kids from school but then they finish their work later in the night, or things like that. It’s just being open about being burned out, so just having that conversation, making people aware of that.
Rachel: Exactly, exactly. Look at you, smarty-pants.
John: Yeah, every once in a while. So this is an intervention, pretty much, is what I’m telling you, Rachel. Because I can tell as we’re talking you’re looking at your laptop and checking your phone at the same time, that’s what happens.
So there we go. There’s your Monday Green Apple Slices, everybody, and we’ll check in on Rachel every week just to make sure that she’s staying with her program and not being too plugged in. So thanks so much, Rachel, for joining me.
Rachel: Of course.