One year in remote work, no one knows when to stop working


Katie Lipp’s daily alarm isn’t meant to wake her up. Reminds you to go to bed.

The employment attorney in Fairfax, Va., Said she has tried a variety of boundary setting techniques while working long days from home directing her legal practice during the pandemic. Few measures work as well as the 9:45 pm alarm you started setting last month, though you admit you occasionally snooze it to send one last email.

“You never feel like what you’re doing is good enough, so you get caught in the trap of overwork,” said Lipp, the mother of a 5-year-old boy. “The dream is the difference. If I have between eight and nine hours, I can conquer the world. If I sleep six hours, it’s like the living dead. “

One year into the Covid-19 era, many can identify themselves. Employees say the boundaries of working life blurred and then faded as waking life came to mean “always on” at work. Experts warn that working around the clock – while eating, helping with homework, and spending a few moments with a partner – is not sustainable, and employers, from banking giant Citigroup Inc. to software company Pegasystems Inc., They are trying to get the staff to dial again.

At consulting giant Accenture PLC, Jimmy Etheredge, the company’s North American CEO, is embracing the notion of “packing lunch,” eating in peace away from screens, and recharging in the middle of each workday. The company encourages employees not to schedule internal meetings unrelated to the client’s business on Fridays, and Mr. Etheredge has repeatedly told employees to be honest with managers, saying, “It’s okay to not be okay.”

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