Kharissa Forte is a writer, certified health coach, and columnist for Startland News. Read her “Holistic Hustle” columns for Startland News here. For more of her self-care tips on how to keep your cup full, visit graceandgrind.co.
Truth be told, urgent culture isn’t anything new, but it’s a problem that seems to be impacting more people with the revamp of 9-to-5 life. If you’re not familiar with the concept, urgent culture is basically when your boss acts as if you’re available on demand — regardless of whether you’ve just clocked out or have the day off.
In all fairness, employers aren’t entirely to blame for this behavior or expectation. Up until recent years, many people have lived as if sleep and rest is for the weak.
Hustle harder. Grind more.
Well, those days are done.
Whether you’re the employer or employee, learning how to nip urgent culture in the bud is essential for sustaining a healthy work environment. After all, if “The Great Resignation” has taught us anything, it’s that people are no longer afraid to quit, start over, or freelance in order to maintain their peace of mind. Here are a few tips to help respect and protect your time at work.
Honoring your team’s time off is just the beginning of alleviating urgent culture. Leadership experts at Inhersight said that catering to the expertise of each individual is also beneficial because doing so reduces scattered thoughts and action. The less scattered someone feels, the more confidence they cultivate. More confidence leads to more ease leads to more productivity.
Another way to reduce urgent culture is to stop micromanaging. Make a point to foster interpersonal relationships so that you can better understand how to be supportive and encouraging without breathing down their necks.
Lastly, recognize that just because you’re the boss doesn’t meant that you’re pardoned from setting boundaries around your own time. Make a point to unplug, turn off, and wind down. You need that time to yourself, too.
What’s desired cannot be respected without communication. Well + Good recommends communicating your boundaries up front. If you answer phone calls or respond to emails after you’ve clocked out for the day or weekend, that’s what your managers will expect of you: to always be available. Set boundaries, communicate them, and enforce them. Period.
If you’re working from home, I can say from personal experience that setting boundaries around where you work can help omit urgent culture. Pick a spot in your house and dedicate that area to work-only tasks. That way, you can still feel like you’re leaving work once you’ve completed your assignments for the day. If you have smaller space, you can achieve this goal by getting out materials when it’s time to work and storing them away afterward. Don’t just leave your laptop out on the dining room table. Put it up and out of sight so your brain can breathe a bit.
Also, remember that free time doesn’t mean you’re available. Utilize those hours that aren’t occupied by work to fill up your self-care tank, hang out with friends, or just do nothing. Allowing yourself the opportunity to recharge and be bored is beneficial for your mental health and your productivity at work.
Fueled by her expertise as a writer, certified health coach, and local business owner, Kharissa Forte is passionate about helping entrepreneurs in Kansas City achieve their goals without sacrificing self-care. Check out her personal blog and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This commentary is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.