September 20, 2022

Working too much is the problem


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Remote work, unlimited PTO and burnout

When I see takes by (dino) business leaders on how remote work reduces productivity, I roll my eyes. Not because I’m a devout Team Remote homer. But because I’ve seen the opposite problem:

????Remote team members who work themselves to the bone. To the point that I worry about self-imposed burn out.

If you built a good environment, have rewarding work, and (…wait for it…) hire well, you shouldn’t have the “people are slacking” problem. Or the “people are taking advantage of unlimited PTO” problem.

Instead, you’re probably going to run into the “am I doing enough?” problem. Or the “have I proven myself to earn this week off?” problem.

I’ll make up an oh so totally fictional example. There’s this guy. We’ll call him Brian. Brian is a exceptional marketer. All the skills. Product marketing, digital strategy, project management, etc. 

Everything you could hope for when you’re launching a new software product. And a new website. Simultaneously.

Do I worry the work isn’t getting done? Never.

But I do worry that sometimes (read: all the time) Brian overdoes it. He’s one of those lunatics who likes to “hit deadlines” and “take pride in his work.”

Sounds great right? But when I get an email at 8pm or see 40 tasks in Asana, my mind goes to “oh god, is he going to be ok?” Then I try to think about the last time he took a full week off.

And that’s the real challenge we remote managers face. If we could visually see team members undergoing signs of work stress, our jobs would be easier. But we wouldn’t be able to hire most of these A players because they live in, I don’t know, Cincinnati or somewhere.

That’s the challenge I (we) must accept. Set expectations and find ways to communicate that fends off burnout.

And remind everyone to take a week off.

View full The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode, 47: “Un-Scamming Unlimited PTO” here.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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