I was invited to speak at Morgan Lovell’s Economics of Workplace Wellbeing event last week. It was great fun and I will share some slides and thoughts from the session on here soon. For now I want to focus on one small and important thing. On the day I spoke about my belief that flow beats work life balance. Neither are achievable all the time and I think that a state of flow is preferable as it truly aids presence, your ability to be fully engaged in what you are doing, right here, right now.
One of the key ingredients for flow, is confidence. Confidence that you don’t need to be worrying about what’s happening elsewhere because you and your team have got it covered, to the extent that anyone can have. So why worry?
During the talk, I asked the audience a question, ‘How many of you take your work laptop or crackberry away with you on holiday?’ There was a gentle buzz of mildly embarrassed laughter from the crowd as we learned that 70% of the people in the room do just that. Next, I read out a beautiful example of an ‘out of office’ message I had received just a few days earlier from Tiffany:
I am out of the office on vacation. To ensure my laptop and Blackberry are not damaged by salt water, beach sand, shrimp tails and crab leg shells, they have been left at home. Therefore, I will not be checking email nor will I be answering the phone.
I return to the office Tuesday February 5 and will respond to your inquiry at my earliest opportunity.
Underneath Tiffany’s name was an email address for her team, so if you really couldn’t wait for her to get back from holiday and help, you had a simple way of making contact.
As I read Tiffany’s message, smiles broke out everywhere. Her note is engaging, funny and clear, and it subtly points the way toward further assistance should it be required. I think the main reasons for the smiles was a realisation that for most of us, Tiffany’s message could be our message if we wanted it to be. Let’s face it, in the overall scheme of things you’re really not that important. Except maybe to that group of people you’ve gone on holiday with, so why not be with them.