How much of your time do you give for free?

I read an interesting article on the BBC News website this morning about how Managers work an extra day a week without pay.  But I don’t think it just relates to Managers.

I know for certain that a lot of PAs have their work email accounts on their smart phones.  I wonder, is this something that’s done out of choice or is it an employer expectation?  Or is it our own personal perception that we need to be seen to be giving more?

With technology these days, it is very easy to be available 24-7 but that level of commitment is just not sustainable and could lead to burnout and stress related illness.

I am all for giving 100% commitment and I know that salaried employees – and PAs in particular – always seem to work beyond their contracted hours.  Would you agree?

I know when I was employed, my hours were 9-5pm but I never left the office at 5pm for fear of being classed as a ‘clock-watcher’.  And unfortunately, the more I seemed to do this, the more it became an expectation and I would feel guilty if I mentioned that I needed to be away at 5pm due to having an appointment!!  How daft is that?!!

Nowadays, because I’m self-employed, I do sometimes work in the evenings but at least it’s billable work.  Now, of course, I too spend some time working for free when I’m working on my business development but at least I also reap the rewards and not somebody else.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any magic answers on how to stop this from happening.  But perhaps you do.  Maybe just cutting back on the amount of time you’re readily available out of office hours?  Perhaps cutting back on the amount of time you’re checking emails in your own time?  Simple steps could help alleviate the stress of it all and help you take back some control.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below or drop me an email 🙂