Why we should refrain from disturbing our colleagues on their rest day

Some time back, I tried to share this with someone in their first career: Try not to disturb someone during their rest day.

Honestly, there is nothing with being a first careerist. Everyone has to start somewhere. I remember being in my first job and I also hate being discounted just because it is my first job. But yet, looking back, I have to agree that many things had to be learned, especially if it is one’s first job. And one of them is to know how to better enhance each other’s performance by nuance adjustment to one’s working style and habit, creating high performing and sustaining culture.

One thing that I try to be mindful of is not to disturb someone during their rest time or day. Although sometimes I make this mistake myself, carelessly texting away until I realised it, like today, which sparked this journal sharing.

Rest time is for one to disconnect from work so that they come back fresh. Your boss can be nice enough to tell you to reach him whenever you need him. But ask yourself, do you want a boss that is well-rested and able to make good decisions? Or one that is constantly bombarded with work such that he is not in the best state of mind. How about your colleagues and subordinates? 

Doing work when we are supposed to be with our families inevitably impact our relationship with our loved ones. From an organisation perspective, we would want employees who are well fulfilled in all aspects of their lives to perform at work. From a national perspective, we would wish to have strong families. After all, Singapore Government has always viewed the family as the building block of society. Even if one is single, having the time to yourself will allow you to work better when you return and connecting with friends will create a stronger sense of community.

Before contacting someone who is away on medical leave, vacation or just over the weekend, ask yourself if we need the answer or work to be done immediately. Ask if we are seeking convenience by jeopardising someone’s rest and if it is selfish of us. If you are a leader, and the first thing you reach out to your subordinate when they are sick is not to check in on them but to ask for work, would you give your best to a similar superior who acts like this to you? You may not need the answer or reply immediately. But you already disturbed someone when you send out the text because they have to read it. If it’s possible to reach out during work, spare a thought and do it when you see them later.

That said, this is for those who have to contact others. If I am on the receiving end of it, I will usually try to give others what they need without much complaining. After all, work is essential, and we should try and accommodate. I also need to ask myself what can I do to prevent the same from happening in the future, such as handing over my work properly. As we become increasingly connected, it takes mutual understanding to create a beneficial culture for all and the long run.

Thoughts?

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Categorized as Journal

By ben@sgben.com

Hi, I am Benjamin. I am a Singaporean son, born and bred. I came from a modest background, just like most Singaporeans and went to mainstream schools like most middle-class Singaporeans. What makes me different is my unconventional choices and journey in life, giving me more profound insights. Entering a secondary school infested with secret societies in the earlier days exposed me to a different side of Singapore. I graduated well despite having a volatile phase. I chose one of the youngest polytechnics despite having a score good enough for JC, even as others tell me it is not recognised, and I would not make it into university through that path. During my National Service, I also went through a difficult phase of rediscovering the purpose of serving. My university was another defining chapter, spanning over nine years, involving many adventures and endeavours. As you can see, I seldom bother myself with dogmas. I strongly believe in Steve Job's speech at Stanford University. I hope to lead others by example, inspire them to do the same and empower the decisions they have to make in their lives. Reach me at sgBen.com.

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