Four ways we’re focusing on impact and setting healthy boundaries at work.

By June 2nd, 2022, businesses that employ more than 25 people must have a written policy in place on disconnecting from work for all employees.  The ‘Right to Disconnect’ Mandate aims to create healthy boundaries between work life and personal life, and encourages employees to disengage from work-related communications, like emails, calls or video meetings outside of established working times. This new rule comes on the heels of The Great Resignation and alarming rates of increased stress, depression and burnout amongst both employees and leadership.

Since the onset of the pandemic, 84% of Canadians say they’ve struggled with burnout and 34% say its’ been extreme.  Globally, 33% of employees polled say they struggle to focus and 31% say they’ve lost interest in their jobs amidst unreasonable work expectations. 

While the ‘Right to Disconnect’ is a step in the right direction, it provides little clarity on how to implement this new policy, leaving leaders in charge of setting the tone and changing the culture.

At Sklar Wilton, we’re focusing on the ‘what’ over the ‘how’, allowing our employees to work in ways (or places) that suit them best and prioritizing quality over quantity.  Here’s some of the ways we’re advocating for better balance and less burnout:

  1. Focus on Impact Over Hours: We understand that not all working hours are equal. Some feel more valuable and productive than others, and that’s ok. Work becomes less about the how and where and more about the what. This concept is translated into employee evaluations and reviews as well. Employees are not rewarded for excessive working hours (being the first person in and the last to leave), but rather, the quality of their work and achievements. 
  1. Normalize Flexible Working: A simple email signature outlining unique scheduling and availability enforces that people should work when it works for them and gets the team on the same page. Having clear and transparent conversations around the expectations to engage are key in setting healthy boundaries. While some may find early mornings most productive, it’s important that team members understand that they are not required to respond immediately at those times or outside of your established working hours.
  1. Encourage True Time Off: Vacation time and breaks are paramount in preserving your team’s mental health. True time off means uninterrupted vacations with no expectations around working or checking in. Partner gift days and summer hours provide ample opportunities for added rest time as well. When we are at work, we try to set meetings to be 50 minutes rather than 60 or 25 minutes rather than 30 to allow breaks in the day or between meetings. Off-camera time is encouraged, as is taking recovery time after an intense project. 
  1. Understand Unique Working Situations: As a diverse group, we understand that each employee has their own unique circumstances and work-from-home challenges, and that unexpected things pop up. With a focus on impact over hours, our employees feel empowered to take care of their personal matters without having to justify ‘time away from their desk.’ Burnout comes from trying to do everything at once.  Our hope is that our team feels supported to focus on what needs their attention most.

With the ‘Right to Disconnect’ written policy deadline is June 2nd 2022, now is a better time than ever to re-assess your working guidelines and ensure your employees’ mental health is prioritized. The approaches listed in this blog may act as thought-starters, but it is most important to develop policies that suit the unique circumstances and needs of your company.

Looking for additional help or resources?  Email us at headway@sklarwilton.com to learn more about how we can help your business foster healthier minds at work