Kick Your Phone Out of Bed
Starts With You
Anyone with a job that's heavy on the email has been there: You're in bed, and the next thing you know, a chain of urgent must-reply emails comes flying in, and all of a sudden, instead of sleeping or talking with your partner, you're working. Compound that night after night, and the divide between work and sleep has hit levels we've never seen before thanks to smartphones and an overall expectation that no matter what the hour is or what you're doing, you should be answering.
In her book Sleeping With Your Smartphone, Lisa Perlow details the current quandary for many professionals, saying that telling people they could benefit from shutting down for a few hours comes as a bit of a foreign concept.
"When I tell people they have to turn off, a lot of people say, 'I don't want to. I don't know to, I'm a workaholic, I thrive from this, I make these choices, I'm at this stage in my life,'" Perlow tells FastCompany, adding that it becomes "positive reinforcement" for those who constantly respond off-hours. But, in a sense you're only setting yourself up for more work, because as you've probably figured out by now, "the more you respond, the more people email you."
Perlow says despite the fact that people claim they're workaholics and are making the decision to always be on-call, in instances where management has told workers to unplug and shut their email down for a period of time, the free time helped everyone see the light that there's a life outside of work. "Person after person, they find out they actually like the time off ... It's not that they are so deeply into their work," but that they were seeking the approval of their colleagues, according to Perlow.
The fact that pushing employees to work nonstop even when they're home, on vacation or in bed "has to be something that troubles everyone," Perlow hopes, saying ultimately she wants "to inspire team leaders to realize this incredible power to address an issue that is I think currently is either self help--to try and fix you, which doesn't really work, because we're embedded in a system so there's only so much you can do--or we go to the other extreme, 'well this a huge problem, an organizational problem, societal problem, and that's not something I as a middle manager can do very easily.'"