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Working 9 til 5…or 9 til Dawn?

Working 9 til 5…or 9 til Dawn?

Don’t be drawn into the 24-hour digital invasion

Working Nine til Five…or Nine til Dawn?

Can we just say: ‘Thank goodness for the internet and for technology in general!’

Imagine navigating this pandemic without it. No video calls, emails, family zoom quizzes. No live school classes, meetings and group chats. No Youtube tutorials on how to fix a leaky tap, how to make sourdough bread or how to be a fitness master. No community Facebook groups where people have come together and helped, whether that’s with a chat that can truly change a day, by dropping off necessities to those isolating, or by posting funny memes to lighten the mood.

Our economy would be seriously struggling. Although many are facing difficult times, just imagine how much harder it could have been.

People have embraced working from home, around childcare and other stresses. Businesses have adapted to survive, providing services they have never provided before – such as deliveries, takeaways, online sessions and video conferencing. They’ve built new booking systems, apps, Facebook pages and websites. Some have even branched out and begun making items completely new to them, such as PPE equipment, hand sanitiser and a host of different products.

And paradoxically, businesses that have faded over time such as fishmongers, greengrocers and butchers have thrived again, with the ability to take online and phone bookings, and make local deliveries.

We have learned new skills, we’ve adapted, we’ve done ourselves proud

We’ve had to look carefully at our businesses and bring them into the 21st century, making use of all the channels that are available to us. As a result, we’ve often worked around the clock, taking meetings and emails at all times of the day. We’ve needed to – so we could survive.

But as we go forward, and it looks like returning to the past we knew is a long way off, we must be careful not to sacrifice our health and family life for our jobs. Being a slave to technology 24-hours a day is not sustainable for the long term. And if you’re not healthy both in body and mind, there’s no way your business can be.

Ensure the lines between work and home life are clear

You don’t need to do everything, you won’t lose clients or business by postponing meetings until the morning or not replying immediately to an email. Perhaps you’re not working 9-5, you may be working evenings, early mornings, or splitting your work-time over the day. Just make sure you are clear about your office hours from the outset. Try setting an out-of-office reply on your email, or using a separate work number – or even turning your phone off at certain times.

The internet is a wonderful thing, and over the last few months, it has shone brighter than it ever has. Keep using it, keep moving forward and thinking of ways your business can adapt.

But don’t let it rule you. Know when to step away and you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready when it’s time to step back in again.

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