The right to silence is the prerogative of a person to remain silent without this silence being reproached. But does the employee really want to use this right?
According to a Credoc report from November 2013, more than one out of two executives with a level of education equal to or higher than bac + 2 uses information and communication technologies (ICT) for professional purposes outside the usual framework of work.
These executives are rather satisfied with this possibility because it offers more flexibility in the management of work / life balance. Finally, only 25% of the workers would demand the introduction of charters in companies to limit the use of ICTs outside the usual places and work schedules.
The question that arises is
how to manage the use of ICT outside of working hours for professional reasons? Who should act first? The setting where the company … Or both?
Answers by Individual and Organizational Views
1 – The manager is competent in managing his time.
That is to say:
• it uses planning
• it fixes and accomplishes daily goals
• it knows how to mobilize its resources with relevance
• it knows how to optimize, in the short term and in the long term, the value added produced
• it knows to sort out important tasks
• he can resist the seduction of the urgent
• he knows how to say no
This frame profile does not need crutches to help it advance. He makes an intelligent use of his right to silence. Any attempt to regulate the use of ICT would be a penalizing measure because it would reduce its degrees of freedom … And probably its productivity. Finally, why should a framework be prevented in 1.5 hours, on the occasion of a Sunday evening for example, what it would probably take more than 3 hours to do in usual working hours? (Reminder: in his workplace, a frame is interrupted every four minutes on average)
2 – The manager is not competent in the engineering of his working time.
That is to say:
• He is unable to choose between freedom and responsibility
• He is unable to know what are the important tasks
• He confuses precision and performance
• It is unable to resist the seduction of the urgent
• It is unable to throw mails in the trash
Like those who start slowing down in order to be able to look at a traffic accident scene, the witnesses “in spite of” events in their professional environment adopt a similar attitude: they lose their time (disconnection). Indeed, unable to resist regular consultation of their mailboxes or other messages from the professional answering machine, these “accidental” witnesses of contingent events are thus trapped. They feel compelled to respond to problems that should not concern them during this period.
In this case, any charter, or additional regulations, concerning the use of ICTs outside the usual places and hours of work, will have very little effect … Except perhaps to relieve the distracted frame of desolation stressful to have to endure, helplessly, the incessant filling of his box-tonneau-mail of the Danaides.
The company and its culture
(based on Circumplex Human Synergistics )
1 – corporate culture is of aggressive defensive form
In these companies, it is theory X that prevails. The underlying belief (especially the leaders) is that the employee does not like to work. It is unproductive if it is not monitored. He works only under duress and even threat. The proponents of the X-Theory concentrate mainly on the task. They force, control, threaten, oppose, care for multiple details, to ensure that subordinates make the necessary and sufficient efforts to achieve the goals.
While ICTs can extend professional practice outside of normal working hours, it should also be noted that they are used for personal purposes during working hours. It would be surprising if any charter conceived in this type of organization does not require any counterpart that produces additional constraints. With or without charter, this kind of environment is not benign enough to solve this problem of the use of ICT
2 – The corporate culture is of passive defensive form
In this kind of companies, it is mainly the Y theory that takes precedence. Theory Y is based on the reverse postulate that the employee likes to work. It needs autonomy, and its creativity must be liberated and aroused. But what should we think of these companies who make the decision not to direct emails to smartphones of a panel of 5000 specific employees between 18:00 and 07:00? … Or those who make available a specific application “E-mail eraser” on computers on vacation (with notice from the issuer inviting him to apply to a replacement)?
Is not a way of disempowering employees, to affirm that the individual option not to respond to an email between 18:00 and 07:00, or to erase any email received during the holiday period, is not an acceptable attitude? Are you entitled to digital silence in a company that manages this prerogative for you?
It should be noted that, even if it is based on good feelings, the charter mainly takes the form of a list of advice and other major principles whose impact on behavior is subject to the discretion of each.
3 – Corporate culture is constructive
A constructive culture is inspired both by the theory X and by the theory Y by drawing employees towards the higher needs of the scale of motivations, the famous driving factors of Herzberg. This kind of culture focuses on accountability and effectiveness. Instead of being trapped by any form of administrative response, the constructive enterprise invests in the education of employees. Instead of diluting the energies in an ineffective attempt to eradicate its symptoms, it endeavors to identify and address the underlying problem. It invites the collaborators concerned to work together to solve the problems related to the use of ICTs themselves and to find, for example, coherent answers to the following questions:
• How to do with e-mails when an employee is absent?
• How do I deal with e-mail when an employee is not responding?
• Can an e-mail be a valid tool for dealing with emergencies?
• How to access useful information at the right time?
• What coefficient of performance should be associated with the volume of information transmitted by an employee?
Whatever the culture of your organization, the best guarantee against harmful use of information and communication technologies rests on your responsibility and your skill in the engineering of the time.
But to be able to exercise these qualities serenely, it is better to have the chance to work in a constructive enterprise.
Let us recognize that it is more effective to clog your own ears than to demand that others be silent when you do not want to listen.