I read about an article in the Financial Times via Mike the Mad Biologist. These articles are written from two totally different viewpoints – the financial industry and academia. I seem to be lower management and I wanted to read the article in FT because I use OOORs whenever I am unlikely to answer email whether it’s because I’m out of office or just busy away from a computer. Oh my dog I even set messages in MS/Communicator to let people know that I’m not around and I use vm if I don't feel like being interrupted at a task. According to the FT I'm not focused - I'm a slacker!
I suppose if you need to be available so people know how much they need to have you around you could feel compelled to connected at all time – like being the only doctor in an isolated community. I don’t have that kind of role so I take the attitude that at any moment something could happen and I just would not be available – perhaps not ever again. As such, shouldn't I try to make sure that people can pick up my strings with minimal effort? I consider what I do at work to be necessary – although I could be mistaken – so why waste someone else’s time by having him/her re-invent the job instead of building and improving on what’s there?
As a matter of fact wouldn’t training the people I supervise make them feel more valued and more likely to be do their work ethically while building their self-esteem and making them more likely to take leadership roles if I’m not available. Wouldn’t this cut down on the pile of work waiting for me when I get back from holidays or conferences? Wouldn’t this be a win all around?
Gosh I almost decided to work part time!
I admit that most of the time I’ve just gone to another building and want to concentrate of one task. To me it’s a courtesy to let others know it may be more helpful for them to phone and in a way inform them that when I do talk with them they will have my full attention.
Any day I expect Lancet or some peer reviewed journal to publish a study showing that people who can’t set limits on their work life suffer from increased stress, poor self-esteem and unsatisfying relationships. Meanwhile I have a life away from work to enjoy.