Employees across the country know how it goes: work never stops. You just got home from a long day at work, and then a high-priority email pops up in your inbox. It happens to all of us, but everyone handles their work/life balance differently. You can open the email and take care of the issue or leave it until the next day. What do you choose?

According to a recent Jobvite survey, 45 percent of workers check their work emails after hours every day, and many check at the urging of their managers. This means leaving the office for the day might not mean what it used to. Those with a salary of $300,000 or more per year check their email 70 percent of the time after hours. Those are startling numbers, and it brings us to wonder if work ever really stops.

Work late when it’s necessary

There will be some days you will have to be answering work emails and calls all evening. Maybe a large event is coming up or your company is in the midst of a crisis. During these important times, show your support and do your part. Your managers and coworkers will appreciate your dedication and remember it when the next promotion is up for grabs. You can tweak your work/life balance after your goal is reached. 

Know when to unplug

No matter what, you’ll receive emails after hours. It never fails. Some may be asking for something very specific from you, others may be general announcements. The choice is yours whether you want to tend to them or let them wait until the next morning. If you are spending time with your significant other, children or friends, you may not want to answer emails the whole time. You can choose to use this time to foster your relationships and let work wait. If you feel obligated to set a specific time in the evening to get ahead on some work, stick to the set time and let the rest of the evening stay work free.

Get Organized

Staying organized at work will help you become more organized after you leave. If you know your tasks, deadlines and level of importance on projects, you should have a good idea how to organize your work/life balance. Making a to-do list or scheduling tasks to be completed  should give you a better grasp on whether you need to be doing extra work from home in the evenings. Learning to prioritize projects will help prevent the “burnt out” feeling by ensuring work being done after hours is only of high importance.

Talk with your boss

If you aren’t sure how much you’re expected to be available after hours, have a chat with your boss. Lay out what you think is appropriate and what you are comfortable with. Then hear your boss out. If management wants you to only be on call for serious problems, you don’t need to be answering emails every night. If your boss would like you to be present after hours, discuss how engaged you are expected to be and devise a plan from there. If their expectations are much greater than what you’re willing to give, it’s not out of line to begin assessing your company and your career – sometimes a change is for the best.

Talking with your boss and learning to focus on important projects will help you decide how long you need to be online after hours. Keeping a healthy, productive balance of work and other activities will keep you happy and focused. If your work/life balance isn’t what you’d like, get in touch with our recruiters today and find your next career opportunity.

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