‘Buzzzzz!’ After a hard day at the office, you’ve finally sat down with a glass of wine or are struggling to round up the kids for bath time and just as you’re putting the stress of the working day behind you there goes the e-mail alert on your phone. All of sudden the two worlds of work and home collide.
Not satisfied with the 8/9 hours you’ve already put in that day, your boss needs you and he/she needs you now! So how do you keep your work life from encroaching on your home life?
Let’s assume your boss actually has a work related request for you – he’s not simply puzzled over how long to pre-heat the oven – do you drop everything and get the laptop out or ignore the e-mail until the morning?
Really this depends on the request and the regularity of similar requests. If, for example, this is a one-off, it’s a busy time of year in your line of work, and this is an important matter that needs your expert attention, then it is important to step up to the plate and show your commitment to the team.
In saying that, I still believe it is important to set boundaries with your boss or before you know it your personal time will have disappeared altogether.
So sit down with your boss and let him/her know in the most positive way possible what you are comfortable with and willing to commit to.
- Be careful to broach the topic without sounding like you’re complaining.
- Make it clear you are a team player and a hard-worker.
- Show your boss what you have on your to-do list and ask what he/she feels you should prioritize. This way you are making it clear the volume of work you have to tackle and you can subtly turn down any proposed project without sounding like you lack work ethic.
- If all else fails, send and email each week with your evening schedule – letting your boss know which evenings are already booked and which ones are open. You don’t have to share the detail of your commitments- but this proactive approach can help you train your boss in a way that helps you both.
It is especially important when you are starting out in a new position to establish these parameters. Although you are trying to impress, be wary of showing a willingness to work all hours as you could end up locking yourself into this pattern for the long run.
If late nights and weekends seem to be the standard for your working week and the job is no longer enjoyable to you, consider changing industries – not all positions will be as demanding on your social time. Good luck!