Here’s a fun fill-in-the-blank exercise:

One of the (_______) things about technology is how easy it is for people to get in touch.

If your daughter is studying abroad in Spain, you’re likely to think this is hands down the best thing about technology. It allows you to hear her voice, see her face, and check out her awesome food pics.

But what if you’re visiting your daughter in Spain and your phone is blowing up with texts and emails about work? You’re probably going to be pretty frustrated about the easy accessibility that modern technology provides.

And quite honestly, you should be.

The problem with always being on

Sure, you can leave your lights on 24 hours a day. But you don’t. Because you know what’s going to happen. They’ll run hot and burn out fast. It’s going to cost you time and money to replace them more frequently, and deep down inside, you know it’s not really necessary to have them burning all night long.

But lightbulbs are pretty cheap and easy to come by. So maybe you get a little lazy about leaving them on more than you should.

Now imagine you just bought yourself a new car. You did a lot of research until you found one with all of the right features. The process was time consuming and cost was expensive, but it’s just what you need, so you feel good about the investment. It runs great, it’s reliable, and you’re confident it will get you where you want to go.

So now that you have this awesome new piece of machinery at your disposal, you’re going to leave it running 24/7, right?

Of course not! That would be ridiculous. It’s bad for the engine, it’s a waste of fuel, and it will shorten your vehicle’s life span significantly. Plus, leaving your car running makes it way easier for someone to steal it out from under you.

Let’s be real. You don’t leave things running all the time because it just doesn’t make any sense.

The Myth of Accessibility

And yet somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves that WE need to be on all the time. That our company does. That our employees do.

But this doesn’t make sense either.

Personally, if I get a package delivered to my door at 10:00pm, I’m more concerned about the welfare of the driver than I am excited about my order arriving. How long has this person been working? Is he/she getting paid overtime? Is this really the best use of everyone’s time and money? It’s late. And dark. And potentially unsafe. What if I’m startled by the strange noises outside my door and call the police? What if the driver falls asleep at the wheel? When it comes right down to it, wouldn’t I be just as happy to receive my stuff in the morning?

Companies, please take note: Many customers will actually choose to do business with a corporation that’s known for being good to its employees over one that isn’t. Research also shows that customer service, retention, and overall profitably numbers are higher in organizations that take care of their people.

Taking care of your people means encouraging them to take breaks. And we’re not just talking about mandated shift breaks. We’re talking about paid time off.

Vacations matter

There’s a reason it’s not called Time On.

Just like that sweet Tesla in your driveway, people can only go so long before they need to re-charge. If you don’t allow them to do it, you’re not going to get the performance you want. 

And yes, this includes you. Even if you’re the all-knowing top dog, you need time off in order to be your best. And you shouldn’t be racked with guilt for taking it.

So, turn off the lights, park your car, and give up that ridiculous notion that you and your employees need to be available at all times.

Or just keep on working… until all your lights burn out.


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