The last four months has been the busiest ever for Sportspeople and Sportspeople Recruitment. More jobs placed at the Sportspeople Jobs Market along with more recruitment assignments commissioned, started and successfully completed through Sportspeople Recruitment. Pretty much, more of everything. So much so, there have been times when all of us have been running at capacity including throughout the day, evenings and weekends. And, that’s after adding two new Recruitment Consultants to the Sportspeople Recruitment team.
All of this is good news of course for a business that celebrates its 18th year in 2014; but it is also a timely reminder of the challenges we face in the 21st century as work blends with our leisure time.
The 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Survey shows 51.4% of all respondents working full-time (to include sport, fitness & aquatics) worked more than 40 hours a week with 16.9% working in excess of 50 hours a week. For those people working in sport 53.2% worked more than 40 hours a week.
What constitutes “work” is blurred in 2014. That is, a person doesn’t need to be physically sitting at a desk to be at work these days as they are accessible and online pretty much 24/7. Emails are received and replied to via handheld devises, calls and texts are made as the need arises while social media provides an organic and constantly changing communications stream.
For example, I can access my computer from any location in the world as if I have never even left my office, giving me the luxury of not having to deal with a mountain of emails upon my return or simply to stay in touch with what’s going in and around Sportspeople.
But, at a personal level I have also fallen into the habit of checking emails in the evenings and weekends. Looking back I think this started as our global, executive search activities gained traction given we are constantly screening and speaking with candidates in different time zones including candidates living in Europe, UK, USA/ Canada, South Africa and Asia. As Sportspeople Recruitment now has six Recruitment Consultants I know they all face the same issues in managing this communication and inevitably, conducting interviews outside “normal hours”.
As a matter of interest new laws introduced recently in France make it illegal for workers in the digital and consultancy sectors to respond to emails or phone calls after 6pm. Under these new laws staff will be ordered to switch off their work phones, and companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to look at work-related emails or documents on their devices after this curfew. Among other things, online banter dubbed the French “lazy” given they already enjoy a 35 hour week.
But I’m not sure we should be so quick to criticise the French for stepping in and doing something about a practice that adversely impacts on the bulk of their workforce. What’s actually wrong with a policy that encourages a separation of work from leisure? When did we accept that it’s OK to be available 24/7?
Two weeks ago I decided to turn off the email manager on my iPhone. Over the Easter break I was tempted to turn it back on or maybe just take a “quick look” to see if there was anything I needed to respond to. I’m pleased to say I resisted all manner of temptation. Melodramatic? Possibly. But the way I’ve rationalised this is that I acknowledge habits play an important role in our health. I’ve recognised I’d developed a routine that was unnecessary, and I guess I’ve decided to break the routine and embrace a new one, helping me change my lifestyle and adopt healthier behaviours.
Importantly, the world around me hasn’t collapsed and Sportspeople and Sportspeople Recruitment continue to prosper. I’m still available to deal with issues that need my immediate attention “out of hours” but I’ve decided I don’t need to spend time searching for things that simply can wait until I am at work and in a position to best respond and manage.
If you don’t believe you have an online habit, try going without checking your emails this weekend.
RM - Sportspeople
First Published 2014