Being honest about work time

One of the things I’m in charge of for one of my clients is sending out quarterly newsletters. The first quarter edition for the year went out recently, and I was going through the “bounced” and “bad addresses” this morning. What I usually find is that most of the “bounced” emails aren’t really incorrect addresses but rather out-of-office (OoO) notifications. My in-box was full of these autoreplies and I found it interesting how each was composed. Many said things like, “I will be out of the office at a training until Monday (date) and will get back to you once I return. Please contact (this person) if it is an urgent issue.” However, the ones that got me thinking were the ones that said things like, “I will have limited/no access to email, so I can’t get back to you blah blah blah.”

Really? Do these folks truly think we believe they couldn’t check their email if they needed to? Come on, you can check your email from the International Space Station and Antarctica (yes, I checked!). Do you really think I believe you can’t get an email while sipping your pina colada on a beach in the Bahamas? Or is it because you are driving your son to his baseball tournament in Las Vegas, and your cell phone somehow doesn’t work?

My point is this… Just be honest! We all NEED breaks from the office and our clients. We NEED time away from our digital devices. We NEED to set work-life boundaries and stick to them. What we don’t need are excuses as to why we aren’t answering our business emails and texts during scheduled time off. You do NOT need to say you won’t have access to this information, nor is there an expectation that you will be available 24/7. (You also don’t need to tell your coworkers or clients exactly what your out-of-office plans are.) Simply say, “I am out of the office and unavailable on these dates. I will be in touch once I return to the office.”

That’s it. Now, enjoy your pina colada, and if you check your email (or your Instagram), that’s YOUR business, not the office’s!

Cool Shit

If you’re a Social Media Manager like me, you probably have at least half a dozen Instagram accounts on your phone. Also, like me, you sometimes forget which account you’re on when you’re scrolling the feed. While this is not necessarily bad because commenting and sharing help the account’s algorithm regardless of who the account belongs to, it only becomes problematic when you do account-specific tasks. The one that tends to trip me up is saving “unique audio” on Reels to use later. Personal accounts have different rules and regulations than Business accounts and, therefore, have different access to audio. If you save a certain sound clip on a personal account, you may not be able to use that same sound clip on a business account. That was a very long description of a simple problem and my even simpler solution (and this lends itself to setting boundaries, which we cannot harp on enough!). Try to only work on your business accounts ON YOUR COMPUTER, not on your phone. I know this isn’t a monumental idea, nor is it one that can be used at all times, but it definitely puts a boundary up that “work is work” and will be done in some designated location. Personal account access can be done from your phone app and, therefore, not cross paths with your professional accounts.

Cool Show I’m Watching

This is a follow-up to last month’s “We’re Watching” note. Duh!!! I’m watching the Bon Jovi Docuseries, “Thank you, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story” on Hulu. It is glorious. That is all you need to know.

Here’s a throwback to the poster I had on my wall in the 80s:

Shiny New Object I (DIDN’T) Avoid

Thumb drives. Yes, I know I can get an external hard drive and save all of my files to that, but I love thumb drives. They are big enough to hold all my files yet physically small enough not to take up much space. I had been putting everything on one, like work and personal stuff, all on the same drive. That changed. I bought a collection of multicolored 128G flash drives on Amazon and grabbed my label maker. Now, everything is organized and color-coded. My Type-A soul is grinning.

So, what’s going on in your world? Discover something new? Watching a great show? Share with us by joining the Virtual Hive private Facebook Group.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Steph and the rest of the Leadership Ally Team