It’s 9:00 p.m. and you receive an email from your boss. Should you respond? Do you have to answer?

A proposal by New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr. might make the decision easier for employees in the Big Apple. If passed, it would be against the law for managers to require that employees answer work-related communications while off the clock. On-call professionals, such as doctors and nurses, are the exception, but employees at qualifying companies would be granted the right to leave late-night requests until the next morning.

Attempting to give people more work-life balance through legislation is a commendable effort that would benefit many over-worked employees. But Kronos Workforce Institute Director Joyce Maroney said in last week’s USA Today article that it doesn’t necessarily mean people will choose to take advantage of it.

Can it wait? Helping employees work their way

It’s a step in the right direction, but we all know the complications that come with balancing the demands of work and home. Sometimes personal responsibilities can’t wait until after hours and need to be addressed during the work day. Occasionally, pressing work matters come up in the evenings, and it’s comforting to take care of them right away. A key part of the Kronos message is empowering people with the technology they need to work their own way. The philosophy is built upon the importance of flexibility and bridging the sometimes troublesome gap between professional and personal responsibilities.

“Work your way” means having the functionality to do your job when and where you choose. Mobile devices and innovations in workforce management technologies, like Workforce Dimensions, give both hourly and salaried employees the ability to perform tasks from anyplace and on any device.

Let’s say Jane, a nurse, needs to take an emergency personal day. She can view her schedule and submit a time-off request in real time using her smartphone – even if it’s 9:00 p.m. If you’re Jane’s manager, you’ll receive the notification and can approve that time – even if it’s 9:00 p.m. It doesn’t mean you or Jane must address the issue immediately, but each of you is empowered with the tools you need to take care of the concern how and when it’s best for you.

People are looking for convenience and speed now more than ever. Employees should never be required or expected to work past the defined hours for their position but having the technology to work how they choose contributes to developing happier, more engaged employees.

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2018