People

How do I stop my boss calling me on the weekend?

James Thomson /

Dear Aunty B,

My boss insists on contacting me all weekend, every weekend, about work-related matters that could easily be discussed during the week. This behaviour also extends to annual leave, where I have now discovered that the only way to get any peace is to leave the country and go somewhere very, very remote.

 

I already work very long hours and I am more than happy to do weekend work when it’s actually necessary. But the extent to which I am being contacted out of work hours is becoming very stressful.

Do I have any grounds to raise this issue without seeming like I am lazy or not committed to my job?

Yours sincerely,
EL

Dear EL,

It’s not your boss’s fault that you leave your various contraptions on over the weekend! How do you know they expects you to answer? You see, bosses have thoughts all the time: on the treadmill, on the dunny, pushing their kids on the swing…in fact I can not think of a single activity when a boss is not thinking:

“I must do something about that immediately.”
“I’ve got to action that now before I forget.”
“Woops! I forgot to do that on Friday.”

You get the drift. Your boss has to call you or email you or text you so that the matter jumps off their mind and attaches itself to your mind, thereby letting the boss have a peaceful weekend.

That’s ok. That’s good for the boss. But that’s not good for you.

I suggest you do two things. Tell your boss that the weekends are very busy and you can not attend to his work related matters because you are often involved in activities which can last for hours and are of such a nature that it is impossible to have communication tools anywhere near you. (If the boss asks, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, cycling, surfing, life saving and sex are just some examples – surely you do one of them on the weekend!!)

Then tell the boss that you are happy to come in an hour earlier on Monday and action all the weekend matters so by the time the boss appears, it is all sorted. Suggest that they only email you over the weekend so no matters get lost – and because you won’t be answering your phone. Then stop checking your emails on the weekend. Simple!

And stop being a doormat. How do I know you are a doormat? Of course your boss is not going to think you are lazy if you don’t answer his or her calls on Sunday. Everyone needs time to tune out and recoup. Even your boss.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B

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James Thomson

James was the editor and publisher of SmartCompany and LeadingCompany for five years. He is now the Australian Financial Review's companies & markets editor, and a former BRW editor.

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