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How to Encourage Unplugging From Work

Being busy, that is one thing many employers ask of their employees to do. Whether it’s a heavy work day, being overcommitted with never ending tasks, to-do lists, meetings, emails, and deadlines, employees are always on the go. And now plugging into work has become easier than ever before with new technology for online and virtual communication as well as project management software on the rise, finding a solid work-life balance that works can be a bit of a dream.

Whether it is remote work or working in-office, being on the clock whenever and wherever is the future of work. Feeling exhausted, overworked, and stressed can hold your employees back from being as productive and focused as they could be, and in turn affect their overall health and happiness.

Finding a way to help employees fully unplug and disconnect from work, when they’re almost chronically connected and expected to be available, isn’t always as simple as turning off their devices and logging out of their emails, but doing so can be a big first step in finding that work-life balance.

Unplugging from work can mean many different things. It can mean being far-removed from anything that is work-related or moving from the desk to the couch, whatever the case may be, being genuinely disconnected is the true meaning of unplugging. Also, with many more employers looking at working remotely there has become a thin line when it comes to unplugging, especially at home.

What can we as employers do to help encourage unplugging from work?

Making it possible to unplug should be the first step. As employers, setting appropriate policies and expectations for encouraging workers as well as their supervisors to unplug from work is important. Small steps like making sure to have work-related messages and emails delivered only during work hours will help draw the line of work and home. Having policies be clear and universal for all will support this notion of unplugging when outside of work. It is essential to encourage all employees to set clear boundaries between their work life and their home life.

A second step would be to make unplugging acceptable by everyone. Trusting policies can be hard for employees as it might seem counterproductive to working culture, especially when it comes to deliverables and deadlines in an organization. As an employer, actively encouraging your employees to take time off and modeling the behavior you want others to take might be best as it can normalize it for employees too, will benefit the mental health of all workers, including yourself. Leadership needs to disconnect and recharge just as much as everyone else. Leading by example of unplugging and disconnecting will benefit yourself, your team, and your organization.

Finally, a third step to encouraging unplugging from work would be to force or incentivize employees to disconnect. Some employees don’t believe in taking breaks and may need additional incentives to turn off their work. Requiring employees to take time off and go offline can benefit everyone and getting creative with incentives like raffling off a prize or an extra day of vacation might just be the encouragement needed for them to disconnect.

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