February 23, 2012
My new job comes with two email addresses, and I am supposed to choose between the two addresses, which means choosing between two different systems. One part of my decision process is how easy it is to access the accounts outside the office: from a web-based interface, forwarded to my personal email account, or from my phone. One account is way easier to access inside the office, and the other is way easier outside the office.
These efforts to get myself connected outside the office beg the question: do I even want to check my email when I’m not officially “working”?
Pre-kids, I’d check my work email a couple of times each night and a few times each weekend day.
Now, if I’m working from home I’ll check it a few times, but otherwise I often don’t check at all when I’m not at the office. Most things can wait, and if they can’t, I still don’t particularly want to deal with it. I don’t have my work emails sent to my phone, on purpose.
To some extent I want to manage expectations: I don’t want to be someone that people expect to answer right away, day or night.
Seven years ago, when most people had regular cell phones but almost no one had smartphones, one of my coworkers lamented her husband’s new Blackberry: “He brings it to bed! He checks his email while we are in bed! Who does that?!?” Now, almost all of us do.
Which is why I’ll check my email at night once or twice, and I’ll forward it to my Gmail as long as I set up a filter, but I draw the line at push notifications. My work-life balance isn’t going to reach equilibrium if I let people keep zapping me all day and all night.
Oh, and I try really hard not to let anyone at work have my phone number. Don’t call me, I’ll
call you see you at work tomorrow.
How connected do you like to stay to your work when you’re off duty?