In today's fast-paced and hyperconnected world, many organisations have fallen into the trap of an "always-on" culture. Employees being always available and responsive, may have once been seen as a measure of productivity. But being plugged in 24/7 and working more hours does not necessarily mean better results. In contrast, in the long run, it’s taking a toll on employee well-being, productivity, and overall organisational performance. It’s about time for a more sustainable and mindful approach to work and for companies to promote designated focus sessions, encourage critical thinking over quick reactions and allow for working hour boundaries.
Here’s how organisations can break free from an always-on culture to foster a healthier work-life balance, increase employee satisfaction, and ultimately drive long-term success:
There is no doubt that the expectation to be available and responsive at all times takes a toll on employees' well-being. They have no time for their brain to switch off, leading to increasingly more employees experiencing burnout at work. The pressure to be "always-on" leads to exhaustion because, well, doing anything for 24 hours would. When individuals are constantly connected to work, they struggle to establish boundaries between their personal and professional lives. Companies can help employees (and in the long run, the organisation’s outputs) by providing them with structured rest, rejuvenation, and self-care. Essentially, organisations must bring in systems like stricter working hour boundaries that emphasise the importance of mental and physical health. Whether you are an athlete or a “9-to-5” employee, any human being needs time away from work to rest and recuperate in order to be their best self at work. By implementing firm rules on working hours, organisations can make work-life balance more attainable and mitigate the risk of burnout, resulting in happier, more engaged and more productive employees.
In an always-on culture, employees are constantly bombarded with information, messages, and requests, leaving them with no time purely to themselves for deep thinking or reflection. With a constant influx of information and no time to absorb it, individuals are prevented from fully understanding and internalizing the knowledge they acquire. Long term productivity goes out the window when employees are fire-fighting issues rather than solving them at their root cause. Without adequate time to absorb information, employees tend to resort to reactive behavior, making rushed decisions and implementing quick fixes instead of adopting thoughtful, well-informed strategies. Companies can move to a culture where there is a conscious focus on minimal meeting time. Concise, intent-driven meetings will clear up time in employees’ schedules and space in their minds to process information fully. In turn, they will be able to think critically and creatively about the situation at hand and produce a nuanced solution for the organisation. After all, “good things take time.”
Constant interruptions and distractions are characteristic of an always-on culture. Certain complex tasks require uninterrupted focus sessions to tackle properly and the always-on culture adversely impacts an individual's ability to do so. The inability to have blocks of deep work in your schedule results in decreased productivity and compromised work quality. In an environment that values immediate response over deep focus, employees are more likely to produce mediocre work that leaves the individual dissatisfied and the organisation in a suboptimal state. For their own benefit as well as their employees’, companies must be mindful of recognising and respecting an employee’s individual focus time. By moving towards a system where there is a designated amount of “Focus Time”, organisations can create an environment that encourages deep focus and concentration, allowing employees to deliver their best work and achieve better results.
Shifting away from an always-on culture requires organisations to prioritise employee well-being, carve out time for absorption and reflection, and foster a culture that values quality of work over quantity of time spent. This is the key to being productive in the workplace. With the beams app, organisations can move away from this unhealthy always-on culture by:
- keeping meetings concise and intent-driven with beams’ easy access to all calendars right in the Menu Bar
- recognising and respecting when an employee is in Focus Mode via beams’ Slack integration (and here’s how to tame Slack)
- utilising the Focus Mode feature to promote a certain amount of ‘focus sessions’ in a day
By implementing these solutions, organizations can break free from the cycle of burnout, enable deep thinking, and unleash the employee and company’s full potential.
To sign up for the beams app waitlist and improve your company’s work culture, visit https://usebeams.com/