Recently, I learned that one of our consultants successfully placed an administration manager with a new client. This is not unusual for the people2people team, but the source of this new client was. At 1:00 am the previous week, one of our senior consultants was unwinding in a Sydney bar and shared a drink with the CFO of another company. As he is "always on," he identified a need and quickly offered our services. A great result for the candidate, client and people2people, but it prompted the question: should this be expected? In the 21st century we are connected 24/7.
This is now a given, but is it a given that you should be available and expected to secure new deals and leads in what would otherwise be considered your own time?
A controversial example would be a police officer. Are they expected to intervene as this officer did last week, or are they entitled to walk away? What are the legal and occupational health issues? For those of us working in an office environment, what are our obligations to alert our employers of opportunities identified after hours, which may or may not be of individual benefit?
My response is a simple one: there is no expectation for our employees to work after hours; instead, the idea of securing an opportunity, selling your company or simply doing your duty in a time not officially designated as work is a function of your loyalty and engagement with your employer. In physics, "Work is force through a distance and is the cause of the displacement."
As an employee in the 21st century, I would suggest that "work" is a function of loyalty (emotional engagement) and energy. If you are reading this and thinking that you would never work after hours, then it is possible that you no longer, or have never, had the connection to your employer and/or the energy to work after hours. There is nothing wrong with this position, but instead of feeling pity for those who seem to be working constantly, perhaps you should be feeling envious that they are so engaged and energised to do so. In our examples of the police officer and our people2people consultant, it is clear that the police officer has an emotional engagement and the energy to cross the road to intervene (which I am profoundly thankful for), and I am happy to say that our people2people consultant, enjoying a lively Sydney bar at 1:00 am, is also loyal and has the energy to represent the company (which I am profoundly proud of)!
Do you go above and beyond in your free time? Do you think professionals should be expected to do so?