Even Now Work Can Wait

May 9th, 2020

Sunday morning musings have made me reflect on the classic Basecamp term "Work can Wait". COVID has created a challenging time where so many people now have an office in their home, making it harder to find the right time to "turn off" from work. For some, there is an "All hands on deck" approach to ensure businesses survive and that shouldn't be taken lightly, but not at a detriment to our health.

Basecamp as a company believe work can wait, putting work-life balance first, setting a line when work ends and family/personal time begins. They even have a "work can wait" notification function on their platform. This is not a mantra, but a purposeful feature because they believe in it. COVID has created a unique climate, where businesses are fighting to survive and need all the support possible. With many furloughed, the support of those still in active work is needed more so than ever. We also have families, hobbies and our health to consider.

9–5 was already irrelevant for so many businesses, but that structure remains. Maybe some businesses will move to be more task orientated, letting individuals carve a work/life structure that is built around them and maximises productivity for the business. I'm not suggesting you ignore important emails or refuse to help a colleague in need because it's the weekend. I'm saying that you work with purpose, respond with intent and set a clear line between work and life.

The current remote work structure is making it hard to walk away from computers at the end of the workday. It gets to the weekend and you are tempted to have a peek at the emails, or look at your remaining to-dos that are still open. Resist and switch off from work. Come back on Monday recharged and ready for another productive week. 

One person is working on a day off or sending emails and another feels pressured to do the same. Times are tough and we want to seem valuable or indispensable, showing worth by being available 24/7. Emails and work messaging platforms have created an expectation that people are available at all times. People are not, and we shouldn't create that expectation for ourselves. If we were needed urgently, someone would pick up the phone and call. Trust me.