How to Communicate with Employees Outside of WorkGuidelines for staying in touch and within the boundaries

Thanks to digital innovation, it's never been easier to contact staff, no matter where they are.

During the pandemic, there was a surge in the use of digital technology as we looked for ways to stay in touch with friends, family members and colleagues.

75% of UK businesses adopted new tech during the pandemic—most of it to facilitate remote working and improved communications between staff.

And while our move to accelerate workplace digitisation feels like progress, there are drawbacks.

44% of employees feel as though they can never switch off from work as their bosses encourage an 'always-on' culture.

This can lead to staff becoming stressed and burnt out—and that can have a negative impact on profitability. A whopping 38.8 million working days were lost because of work-related ill health in 2019/20.

Stress, depression, and anxiety were among the issues caused by work, which is likely to affect employee productivity even when they are able to make it into the workplace.

Clearly, managers need to respect the boundaries between their team members' work and home lives. But there will be times when it's necessary to communicate with employees out of hours. So how do you navigate this?

Tips on out-of-hours messaging

Need to contact staff outside of their shifts? Here are some tips on maintaining a happy and motivated workforce.

Set expectations

Sending work messages during staff’s personal time is disruptive. So it’s a good idea to have an honest conversation with about it from the outset. Agree on the circumstances in which it’s going to be necessary and ask their preferred means for you to get in contact.

For example, is it best to get in touch by phone? Or would it help to give your team access to powerful messaging tools such as Findmyshift?

Be realistic

Not everything is a crisis. When an issue arises, it’s worth taking the time to evaluate whether it needs to be resolved in the moment, or if it can wait until a staff member is back at work.

Stay consistent

If you’ve agreed to only contact your staff in the event of an emergency, stay true to your word. While it can be tempting to share news or ideas outside of regular hours, it’s also worth recognising that individuals may want to switch off completely and not have to think about work.

Let staff know you’re grateful

If your team has pitched in after hours, a simple word of thanks can go a long way towards keeping morale high. And if individuals consistently go above and beyond, consider rewarding them with extra pay or by giving them some extra time off.

Avoid after-hours emergencies

Sometimes, crisis situations can be avoided if the right processes are set up. When an emergency situation has been resolved, make adjustments to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Share responsibilities evenly

To avoid contacting the same members of staff after hours, set up a rota or send quick and easy group notifications which can help to share the burden.

Respect staff privacy

Remember that it’s a legal requirement for businesses to keep their employees’ personal data safe, secure and up to date. It’s also important not to share personal contact information without an employee's consent.

Out of hours messages: practical considerations

Of course, as a manager or business owner, it’s important that you have downtime as well. To avoid having to message your employees around the clock, or sending the same message to different team members on repeat, consider how software like Findmyshift can help.

Automate repetitive tasks

Rather than hitting copy, paste and send over and over, with Findmyshift you can set up automatic shift reminders to reduce missed shifts.

Group messaging

Last-minute rota changes can affect the whole team but it’s easy to let everyone know at once with Findmyshift's messaging features.

Get the whole team’s input

If you want to get feedback on a specific idea, a team notice board makes it easy for staff to contribute their thoughts and helps you keep track of suggestions. These can often get lost on regular smartphone messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Want to know more about how Findmyshift can simplify your business’s out-of-hours messaging? Check out our video guides and webinars.

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