With four weeks until Labor Day, we still have time to enjoy the treasured hallmark of summer—vacation. As a mid-career professional, one of my increasingly important priorities for time off is unplugging from the electronic tether of the omnipresent smartphone. In our everyday life, it is an indispensable tool. However, in vacation life it can quickly interrupt a regenerative vacation activity or conversation.
While the advances in technology have enabled this sea change, it is the workplace culture that has spurred the promulgation of technology into all aspects of our life. We allow ourselves to be available in hopes of advancing our careers, placating a demanding superior, or due to no one else being able to fulfill our role in a project. In lieu of enabling this access, we should work to carve out time for ourselves to recharge, reflect, and rest from our professional activities. Both aspects of our lives will benefit from this discipline.
Collectively we must grow a workplace culture based on the balance of our professional and personal lives. This culture is born of action, not words. Leadership must not only adhere to this separation by avoiding disturbing their team when out of the office, but they must demonstrate it themselves. As teams are built and cultivated, creating redundancy within the team can be emphasized to avoid creating singular sources of responsibility and encourage all team members to grow in their responsibility and share within the project team.
We need to shift our focus from how hard we work to how effectively we work.
Ann Powell, AIA, LEED AP BD+C