Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Go Home - That's An Order
Why do so many people choose to work so many hours rather than head home to be with the ones they love? Even if someones answer has something to do with how much they love their job or how honorable their profession is, it began with an insecurity one day. The insecurity that I am talking about is the one created when an employee is loaded consistently with more than can be completed without robbing precious time from their family.
I lived in that world once. I was working for a great organization with a chance to directly impact lives every day with the work I was doing. I believe there is a scene in the movie that describes how I felt about that job. It's the one in the movie Major League where the big dumb catcher stops his team mates in the middle of an argument and complaining about the team and says something to the effect of how lucky they are to get to play a game for a living. They were getting payed to play ball and that should be a dream come true. Well, that's how I felt. I was getting paid to play ball and it was a dream come true. That dream soon became a nightmare due to one thing... TIME.
I was consistently required to be at events in the evenings and was unable to make up the time during the day due to other work responsibilities needing to be done. I found myself working a full week and rarely able to take Friday (my day off) solely as family time. I put in every Saturday afternoon and evening as well as Sunday morning thru mid afternoon. Don't forget Wednesday nights and those were just the every week things. Ad in the "special occasions" that seemed to come up every week, and I was spending way too much time at work. Leadership with the organization would say things like "go home, make sure you spend time with your family". However, what was communicated or heard by employees was - go home and work late when your family is in bed so you'll be exhausted tomorrow because if you don't hit that deadline, it's not OK even though it's impossible to hit that deadline without robbing your family of that time. Oh and, for the record... I did say it was OK to go home and not worry about it. Weather I meant it or not.
This is where it is my goal to be different. I believe it is my job, as an employer, to make sure my team knows it's not only OK to go home and finish work later, but it's an order. Just let me know if you can't keep caught up in the agreed upon work time and we're good. This will never be a problem if you're here working hard when you're supposed to be at work. If you're working when supposed to be at home... you might hear me say. Go home - that's an order.
I believe that this will allow my team to have stronger relationships with friends and family and thus increasing their joy, loyalty, and productivity at work. It IS the responsibility of the employer. Regardless of what's said verbally, if your team feels pressure to steal time from their family to work... their leader is communicating the wrong thing some how.
Does your team feel that pressure? Or do they feel it's OK to let something at work wait until tomorrow? Really. Be honest with yourself.