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Time Out, Log Out: Creating A Technological Boundary Will Enable You To Refresh, Recharge, and Be Productive

While everybody in the office looks forward to rushing out the door, we are technically never “out of the office,” especially when we are constantly attached to our gadgets. More and more people nowadays have their work emails synced to their mobile phones. And because not all companies provide separate work phones, chances are your boss, colleagues, and even the cafeteria lady who sells pack lunches know your personal phone number. All this constant connectivity to work is actually making you unhealthy—and could even be messing up your relationships. In a study made by Kansas State University organizational psychologist Young Ah Park, sleeping with your smartphone by your side keeps you from fully supporting your partner or from self-regulating hostile behaviors. Your inability to also detach from work after office hours or on weekends actually prevents you from clocking in more productive work. Says Park, “If you have a strong technological boundary and self-restricted rules for using email, laptops, or cellphones for work during off-work times, then you are more likely to experience psychological detachment from work”—which in turn enables you to refresh and recharge yourself fully.

 

How to achieve this detachment that we alll need to put in better work, and improve our relationships at home? Try any of these simple steps: 

 

  • Have a separate work phone. If your company cannot provide you one, simply purchase your own SIM card kit and an inexpensive smartphone to serve as your work unit. Turn it off when the workday is over and on weekends, and never give your personal mobile phone number to anyone in your office.

 

  • Download Out of Office Assistant on your smartphone. While this connects your mobile to your office’s MS Exchange account, it also enables you to set out-of-office replies from your Android whenever, wherever.

 

  • Get an app that lets your phone automatically reply to work-related texts. The SMS Out of Office Assistant, for example, allows you to customize an out-of-office text (“I’m not at work right now and will get back to you as soon as I come in tomorrow”) to all work-related messages.

 

  • Make an arrangement with your boss and your colleagues. Park warns that if your coworkers don’t unplug during nonwork hours, then you won’t be able to as well. See if you can discuss ways to unplug with your boss; or try to communicate that to be able to turn in better-quality work, you need to switch off your work phone and email during off hours. This allows everyone in your team to align with you, and know that they can get in touch and work with you only during office hours.

 

This article was first published in Working Mom magazine June-July 2017 issue