Are Work Notifications Ruining Your Weekends?

A WhatsApp notification on a Saturday, while you're out with your family. A late email, a server crash to fix... all of that can turn a weekend into an unpleasant moment. These intrusions of work into your personal life have a name: work hyperconnectivity. Here are some tips on how not to let it take over your life.

For CTOs (technical directors), web developers, and IT managers, notifications from Slack, Teams, and other communication tools have become a regular part of their daily lives. A server that's down, a mail server that's not working, or a bug in the account creation process are all common issues that keep these professionals constantly connected to their work.

To stay alert to these issues, apps like Slack, WhatsApp, and Teams are often installed on their personal smartphones, making it hard to disconnect from work. As a result, they are always connected to work, 24/7. And we all know how hard it is to resist an unread notification.

A doctor of ergonomic psychology has studied the effects of hyperconnectivity in the workplace. She reveals the specific characteristics of people who are most susceptible to this problem.

We observed a difference between salespeople and other functions. The higher the hierarchical level, the more people they managed, the less they disconnected. Because they need to be available for their teams.

Hyperconnectivity poses many problems:

  • Focusing on work-related problems and constantly checking messages
  • Inability to disconnect due to fear of missing information or receiving criticism
  • Increase in stress
  • Eye fatigue
  • General fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Disrupted personal life, sometimes leading to strained relationships

These "pain points," as the psychology expert calls them, were revealed through a study conducted with employees in a company. To bring these pain points to light in the workplace, this doctor set up a theater forum.

The theater forum allows employees to express themselves on the theme of disconnection. It allows them to understand the problem and to think about solutions.

For example: an employee, on a weekend with her family, receives a WhatsApp message from her manager. He wants to ensure that her presentation is going well. Result: stressed, she returns to prepare her speech. She therefore spends her personal time on a professional issue, while she had planned a leisure moment with her family... who does not hide her dissatisfaction.

How to solve the problem of over-connectivity?

For the psychology expert, there is no real miracle solution. Her advice is to prioritize dialogue.

It is recommended to regulate the use of digital tools at the level of a team. To agree on practices within the team: which tool do we use, and when? So that everyone can disconnect without receiving any criticism.

After setting the rules, it is recommended to set up the communication tool. The goal: to block notifications according to the days and hours defined by the team.

Slack control panel to specify the days and times for which notifications are allowed

As a reminder, the El Khomri law of August 8th, 2016 gives employees the right to disconnect from digital work tools during vacation, and outside working hours.

Are you facing over-connectivity at work? What solutions are you putting in place to reduce this problem? Share your techniques in the comments.

[Cover photo: Gift Habeshaw]

Journalist constantly searching for new tools that are lightweight, accessible to all, and respectful of users' privacy.


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