Question is - how do these changes work for your business?
Is staying connected 24/7 helping you succeed, or does it look like it’s succeeding - but silently making your long term success suffer?
Let’s take a look at the way staying connected all the time helps your business grow.
Why Businesses are Never Closed
The primary reason businesses are answering phone calls after business hours is clients.
You may not be at your office or store after hours, but your clients are looking at your website - your virtual office or storefront - at all hours.
And companies have been training them to expect prompt customer service at all hours of the day and night.
When customers shoot an email to your team, you have a 6 hour timeframe to answer before customers get irritated at unmet expectations.
When customers have a complaint, the time frame is even shorter.
That means that if your client sends you an email at 6:05 PM, answering him 9:41 AM the next morning won’t cut it for him. What used to be considered timely customer service is now considered a slow response.
The most logical response to clients who expect fast replies and solutions is to have your employees stay connected to work even after they leave the office. An increasing number of employers are expecting their employees to answer phone calls and emails after work hours.
But is this what’s best for your business?
Most people think customers are the most valuable assets for a business. Indeed, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.
But customers are not your most important asset.
You and your employees are.
More and more, organizational scientists and industry thought leaders are finding that it’s the quality and creative skills of the team which are determining a business’s success and direction.
So now, let’s find out: What happens to us when we don’t leave their work behind when they leave the office? And how does that affect your business?
First, let’s start with the positives.
The Pros of Staying Connected
Staying connected throughout the day also means that employees don’t have to start their morning with a long list of small tasks that piled up between yesterday at 5 and today at 9. Doing tasks that crop up throughout the evening, like calling a client back and answering emails, mean that employees can start working right away in the morning, not bogged down with everything that had piled up since the day before, and seamlessly continue where they’d left off.
And yet there are negative consequences to this approach.
The Cons of Never Clocking Out
It’s the performance of your employees which shape and manifest your business.
And it’s the strengths they have which will determine how your business is developed over the course of time.
What is a crucial factor in the amount and quality of creativity and problem solving skills in people?
We need space to innovate, think, and strategize. If we don’t disconnect, we are missing the crucial breathing time for our brains to absorb our experiences and information, refresh, and empower us to make innovative decisions and do our best work.
Even as more employers are expecting their employees to be on call all the time, true visionaries are actively encouraging their employees to disconnect. And finding that disconnecting after hours and on weekends make their employers perform better and smarter during the hours when it is most important - during work hours.
Another drawback to never leaving the office is a high rate of burnout. Without the chance to rest and reinvigorate, many employees find themselves experiencing burnout. In addition to a loss in productivity, this leads to one of the most costly and dreaded problems a business can face - a high turnover rate.
Balancing the pros and cons
So what do forward thinking businesses who have a disconnection policy do about their clients who expect to be answered within a few hours, even after hours or on weekends?
One solution many companies are implementing is using a call center for after hours and weekends to address client’s questions and problems. This allows clients to receive prompt service while allowing the team to disengage from work and resume work refreshed and ready to tackle the day’s challenges with a clear head and fresh ideas.
For email outsourcing to regions with different time zones, it might not be practical if you want to offer advanced support, but it’s more than adequate just to give a personal acknowledgment that the issue is being reviewed and will be taken care of. And if it’s urgent, employees will be contacted so they can resolve the emergency.
Balancing the needs of employees and clients can be difficult. But recognizing that your team is your business’s greatest assets and making sure their needs for rest and disconnect are met leads to happier, more productive teams which is good news for clients as well.