What If We Just Stopped Being So Available? - Deepstash

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THEATLANTIC

What If We Just Stopped Being So Available?

What If We Just Stopped Being So Available?

theatlantic.com

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The Spiral Of Expectations

When communication technology makes a new thing (like responding on the go) possible, doing that thing can be a way for people to signal how dedicated they are as workers or family members—and, crucially, not doing that thing can suggest that they aren’t dedicated enough. Now when people...

The Sin Of Not Being Available Right Away

With the mass adoption of email and smartphones, is that the “acceptable” window of response time has gotten much smaller. Someone could conceivably apologize for their delay when responding in the afternoon to an email sent that morning.

All of these sorries raise the question of whether a...

Even if being responsive at all hours has no bearing on an employee’s actual productivity, many bosses lazily use it as a proxy for gauging workers’ value.

A Genuine Problem

A delayed response can cause genuine problems too. If your partner texts you “I love you,” responding two days later is not a good idea. In personal communications, a lack of a speedy response risks signalling a lack of care. After all, your phone was right there.

Apologizing For Everything

The most common way for people to resolve the tension between the pressure of speediness and the reality of busyness is to start messages with four words: Sorry for my delay. It is an innocuous, polite gesture. 

But, having multiple obligations and priorities means that we are, all...

Even if “Sorry for my delay” is a social nicety, performing remorse can have real effects. Repeating it can make us feel like we’re perpetually behind, and worse, it models an unreasonable standard of responsiveness for the person we’re (allegedly) slow in writing back to.

The Right Approach

Instead of 'Sorry for the Delay' or 'Thank you for your patience', there is another alternative.

If a message will take you a while to respond to, you could first reply with a quick note saying when you plan to respond fully. This can reduce uncertainty and stress on the part of the sender,...

More than a graceful email response, is a more humane culture of work and communication. Technology, for instance, could be designed to that end.

Apple’s latest mobile operating system i...

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