A reader writes:
I’m a supervisor who has a fantastic workforce and several other high-performing workers. We’re all working from dwelling today because of COVID. One in every of my workers specifically will typically keep up late into the night time engaged on assignments I’ve given her. I do know this as a result of she’s going to ship me emails at 1 or 2 within the morning with updates on her work. (We’re all exempt and on wage so extra time pay is just not a problem right here.)
She is producing high-quality work and I’ve no points along with her work efficiency. As a result of she works so arduous on initiatives, they typically are available effectively earlier than deadlines as effectively. My sense is that she does this as a result of she finds the work attention-grabbing and fascinating and doesn’t wish to cease. However I fear that she goes to get burned out by working such late hours, and in addition that different workers on my workforce will see her working so late and marvel if they’re anticipated to take action as effectively. (I’ve tried to handle this immediately with my different workers and instructed them that it’s not what I anticipate.)
I’ve tried to inform her many instances in our one-on-one conferences that she doesn’t must work that late and that I don’t anticipate her to take action, nevertheless it doesn’t appear to cease her. I actually don’t wish to make this into a proper efficiency situation both. Do you could have any solutions on learn how to “persuade” her to not work so arduous?
Nicely, you possibly can discuss to her in regards to the significance of pacing herself so she doesn’t burn out — it’s a marathon, not a dash, and so forth. and so forth. Clarify you care about her having the ability to do the work effectively long-term, not simply doing numerous it within the short-term.
However given everybody’s scenario proper now with pandemic stress and being trapped at dwelling … I wouldn’t press too arduous. This could be how she’s coping. You don’t wish to push her to cease doing one thing that may really feel like a lifeline proper now.
It’s additionally doable that she’s working late at night time as a result of she’s working much less in the course of the daytime — both as a result of her present life necessitates that (like if she has to supervise her children’ on-line education in the course of the day) or as a result of she merely prefers it. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t pressure her again right into a extra conventional schedule if this one works simply effective.
However you’re proper to fret in regards to the message her late-night emails might ship to colleagues. It was clever to inform your different employees members immediately that you simply don’t anticipate that … however I’d additionally take into consideration suggesting that she maintain her emails till the subsequent work day. She will write them at 2 a.m. if she desires, however schedule them to exit the next morning (or simply save them as drafts till then if her e mail program doesn’t let her schedule them). I do know it feels a bit of odd to be like “disguise how arduous you might be working” however that wouldn’t be the message. You’d body it as, “You and I each know you’re working these hours as a result of they work effectively for you, however when folks see others doing this, it may make them really feel like they’re anticipated to be checking e mail in any respect hours.” If she manages folks, you positively must say this — however both approach, you possibly can body it as being considerate about what indicators she may in any other case inadvertently ship.
I do suppose there’s a bizarre factor occurring proper now the place many individuals all of a sudden have much more flexibility within the hours they work. For some folks that sucks — it’s as a result of college and baby care remains to be in such disarray that working odd hours is their solely possibility, or boundaries between work and residential have been blurred a lot that it looks like work by no means ends. However different folks have discovered an actual freedom in having the ability to handle their very own schedules in ways in which weren’t as widespread pre-pandemic. Clearly that’s not occurring in all jobs, however there’s extra of it occurring than there was. It’ll be attention-grabbing to see if it turns into a long-lasting change. (If it does, it’ll virtually actually be each good and dangerous — good as a result of extra freedom is mostly good, however dangerous as a result of it’ll undoubtedly add to the already mounting strain some folks face to be out there on a regular basis.)