According to an article in the Harvard Business Review working after hours can send a message that 'when I’m on, you need to be too.' What researchers found is that there is a significant correlation between the number of times managers send emails after hours and the number of times their direct reports do it too.
Whether it's intentional or not, managers that work late nights signal an expectation for their subordinates to behave the same. According to the article written in the HBO, it is not uncommon for people to try and get ahead of the week by sending emails on a Sunday evening, even if they don't expect the recipients to read or reply straight away. According to the study, employees of managers who do this are likely to do the same.
In the same article, researchers looked at multi-tasking during meetings and found that it sends the signal; 'It’s OK to not pay attention.' Managers that frequently send emails during meetings are 2.2 times more likely to have employees who multi-task during meetings too.
Although multi-tasking has its place in being more efficient, it is ultimately distracting and means you might lose part of the conversation. This, in turn, can lead to different interpretations of a decision, opportunities to miss critical guidance and inconsistent follow through. Further, it can signal that you don't value other peoples time or contributions.
It is important that managers keep these in mind the next time they multi-task in a meeting or work after hours. Their actions can profoundly affect their team.
Photos/Harvard Business Review
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