Working from home brings brilliant flexibility, and when deadlines are approaching, I am certainly guilty of burning the midnight oil. When EBM Accounting was in its pilot phase, it was around my main job and I was only available for clients out of hours. Since it became my main job in 2019, it has been more school-hours based. Of course, school hours went out the window in 2020. Since we all decamped to work from home or be furloughed (or worse) in March 2020, the line between work and home has become blurred for many.
Let’s be honest, this has been brewing for a while. In the late 1990s mobile phones really arrived (Nokia 3210 anyone?) and by 2003 the BlackBerry phone meant there was no escape from your emails either. At least Smartphones meant we could upgrade from Snake and FM radio. I’ve spoken before about Rest and Shorter, the books by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang which describe how habits like starting early, daily exercise and focussing in short bursts are more effective and sustainable than longer hours. I’m a huge fan of these ideas which can utilise the skills and ideas of more people who can’t or don’t want to work full time and improving work/life balance for everyone involved.
The Right to Disconnect has been in place in France for four years, and now the union Prospect is calling for similar laws in the UK. This gave us the nudge we needed to review our own working hours. So our core working hours will now be 9.30-14.30, and we will get back to our clients as soon as possible outside these hours.