At Work

Disruptions to Workflow Do Not Have to Be Normal

By: Valerie Ling

I was on a walk with someone the other day, when they made a statement that seemed to be universally true. Except, it was not all that true for me.

“Don’t you find it’s hard to be productive when you are leading a team due to all the disruptions you get from email, messages, phone calls and office door knocks?”

My first thought was, “There must be something wrong with my team”. My second thought – more a memory, was, “That was probably true for a short period of time a very long time ago”.

I suppose when you believe in doing things without burning out, you think about creating a culture of joy, empowerment and reasonable boundaries.

Imagine if everyone thought the normal thing to do was to send social media messages, text messages and emails at all hours of the day, and even on weekends. Maybe you could (barely) sustain this if you had one or two other people to lead. Imagine if that multiplied to a team of 10, of 20, of 30. If every person thought this type of demand pinging was normal – there would be chaos. You certainly would not be getting much rest.

Imagine instead that there are clear channels, patterns and guidelines for how to communicate as a team. A clear escalation pathway. A clear understanding of when to email, when to call, and when to message. Imagine your diary is at a predictable place so that people know when you are working on what and when you can be contacted. Imagine working from home, clocking off from work and not being interrupted at all. At all. Not on weekends. Not after hours. Not when you are on the toilet. Not when you are at a friend’s place.

That’s my reality. That can be your reality too.


Article supplied with thanks to Valerie Ling.

About the Author: Valerie Ling is a clinical psychologist and consultant with The Centre for Effective Living (a psychology and mental health practice) and The Centre for Effective Serving (a workplace wellbeing consultancy).

Feature image: Photo by Windows on Unsplash 

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