Nobody likes the look of an email that demands immediate action, and if you have ever received an email like this, you know it’s both a hassle and a frustration when you need to drop everything that you are currently working on to address a particular situation. Thankfully, there are other ways you can manage the communication of such issues and better address them in the future.
“This is Urgent and Needs Immediate Attention”
Be honest with yourself. How many times have you sent this exact message to your team members after hours? If the answer is “a little too often,” perhaps there is an opportunity for you to improve operations and communications for your business.
Nobody likes vague directions, and if you give your team these kinds of directions without a clear path forward, they will get frustrated and overwhelmed, particularly if they are sent after-hours with an emphasis placed on urgency. Ultimately, it boils down to a question of fairness, and if you do this on a regular basis, the hard truth of the matter is that you are not being fair to your employees.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Just imagine if someone sent you a message of that sort after-hours, despite the fact that you work hard while you’re in the office and are generally on-task. All of a sudden, you receive a request to fix a problem that you have no clue how to address. What exactly are you supposed to fix, and how are you supposed to fix it if you don’t know what it is?
It’s an incredibly stressful situation to be in, and without the appropriate context or background information, an impossible task that is sure to send even the most dedicated and hard-working employee down the dissatisfaction rabbit hole. If this is the status quo for your business, it’s likely to turn into a business that no one wants to work for.
Set Appropriate Work/Home Life Boundaries
If your team believes they are expected to have their work devices on them at all times in case you need them for something, you need to make some serious changes to the way you conduct your business. A proper place to start is to stop sending messages at the end of the day with no context. For example, don’t just say that something isn’t working; say what specific problems are occurring, what needs to be addressed, and when you expect it to be done (and of course be reasonable with your deadlines too). In fact, if the problem is after-hours, you can ask your employees if they would be willing to accept overtime or emergency pay to resolve the issue.
We want to place an emphasis on the word “ask,” too, as some employees might value their time away from the office too much to accept mandatory overtime, even if it financially benefits them.
It’s up to you to honor the employment agreement that your team signed up for upon their hiring, and if you have to deviate from the agreement, you need to clearly articulate what is in it for the employee should they choose to accept the new “terms and conditions,” so to speak. Such deviations should not become the norm—they should be the exception to the rule.
Remember, your employees don’t live to work for you; they work for you to make a living. Their lives outside of the workplace are sacred to them, and you shouldn’t interfere with that if you don’t have to.
You can make your employees’ burdens a lot easier and lighter with the right technology solutions, and in most cases, you can outsource emergency support to a managed service provider who can address your problems as needed. To learn more, contact us at (561) 708-5359.