Last weekend, my husband was about to check his email when he hesitated. He wanted to see if anything major needed his attention at work. But then again, he really didn't. Instead of checking in, he spent the next hour enjoying our bicycle ride. Had he checked, I'm sure he would have been thinking about work while we were pedaling through the park. Still, I had to convince him that he had made the right call.
I think the days are gone when we make a clean break from work on Friday and return on Monday morning. Today, there are very few people in positions of responsibility who don't check their email on the weekends. That's not exactly a recipe for a good work life balance but it's a reality of the new "always on" world we live in.
Almost every top executive surveyed by The Miami Herald for its CEO Roundtable feature admitted to checking email on the weekends. Some said they set aside allocated time for checking, while others check in on and off all weekend long. I fear the feeling that we must check in is only going to get worse.
Here is how some of South Florida's CEOs responded when asked if they check work email on weekends:
"I am always checking my emails and often use weekends as a time to catch up on any pending responses or issues I need to address. With a 24/7 hotel operation, I need to be available at all times." – Julie Grimes, managing partner, Hilton Bentley Hotel
"I check email both days but not constantly. As a business owner, I believe that it is a moral obligation to be prepared for an employee or client emergency. However, if there is really an emergency, someone calls. This is clearly my own character flaw." – - Ann Machado, founder and president, Creative Staffing
"I do check emails over the weekend because my work and personal lives are very closely intertwined. However, I try to check it only at allocated times during the weekend so I’m not distracted during my family time." – Nitin Motwani, managing principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates
"I like to be accessible to any business where I am an investor, operator or adviser 100 percent of the time, but my family comes first. Most things can wait, and we are not involved in life-or-death situations. I generally check emails any time my daughter is sleeping." – Todd Oretsky, co-founder, Pipeline Brickell
Do you think it is possible to go the entire weekend without checking email? Is there a system you use to refrain from thinking about work 24/7 on the weekends?