In our work-driven society, it’s often difficult to give ourselves time and space away from our jobs. Some companies believe they’ve found the solution.
While we’ve been working from home during the pandemic, the line between work and personal time has been very blurry.
It’s getting increasingly more difficult to unplug from work emails, Slack messages, and Zoom meetings. Employees have found themselves extending their work hours ever since the pandemic began.
Dream Sports, an India-based fantasy sports company, has found a solution. They’ve decided to fine employees $1,200 if they ever contact someone who is currently on vacation.
The company encourages its employees to take a break every year. Founder Harsh Jain says, “Once a year, for one week, you’re kicked out of the [company] system…you don’t have Slack, emails, and calls.”
The founders explain that this way, the company doesn’t rely on any one employee as they’d have to manage without them whenever they’re on vacation.
In a report released by Qualtrics in March 2022, half of the U.S. employees they surveyed said that they worked at least an hour a day during their paid vacation time. Almost a quarter responded that they work for at least three hours.
Employees are struggling to disconnect from work, with many of them being expected to answer work calls and emails during their supposed break.
Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft, Netflix, and Goldman Sachs have switched to a system that allows employees to take time off as needed.
However, some critics say that this model may actually result in employees taking less time off, due to social pressure and fear of losing out on money.
Someone at Microsoft commented that the “Whole thing feels like cost-cutting and ‘we have to make sure you’re actually doing work.’”
With more companies adapting to a remote set up, employees need to remember the importance of their work-life balance.
In the TED series “The Way We Work,” behavioral scientist and Harvard professor Ashley Whillans talks about how to create that balance.
She discusses the importance of savoring rest, rather than feeling guilty about being seemingly unproductive. Setting boundaries during vacations, weekends, and other free time is also a must.
As we spend most of our time sitting in front of our screens, we need to remind ourselves to use after-work hours for our own personal activities, like taking a walk, catching up with friends, or that hobby we’ve been putting off for a while.
Take time for yourself because after all those hours of work, you deserve it.
Banner photo via Pexels by Taryn Elliot.