So, freedom and boundaries - doesn’t sound like they ought to go together, but they do ... read on ...

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We often get asked why we have an auto-response on our emails, it’s two-fold: firstly, you know we have received your email, secondly, it manages expectations of when you can expect a reply as we don’t sit on our emails 24-7. A few weeks ago, we took the decision to amend the response that goes out and it now reads:

Many thanks for your email, we aim to respond within 3 working days and our office hours are detailed below.  
As a business we encourage balance: between work and home; between family and self; between savoury and sweet; between screen time and switch off time.  As such, the office is closed on Wednesdays and we don't pick up our emails outside of office hours or when we are on holiday.  We hope these values set us apart from other businesses and that they inspire others to do the same.

Yes, it can take 3 days to reply to you ... why? Because:

  • We might be out of the office

  • We might be ill

  • A loved one might be ill and need us

  • We might be snowed under with work and need to take a break from the emails for a day to get caught up

  • If you’ve sent an email late on a Tuesday then it isn’t even going to get read until Thursday so could easily be 2 days later to reply just from the timings of it all.

  • We don’t want to be changing out of office / auto-responder on a daily basis because we will never remember to change it back again!

And why is balance important? Hopefully you can see the reasons why above.  Work isn’t the be all and end all.  I set up Simplified Accounting to give the balance I wanted within business, to give the freedom I needed with a young daughter (she might be a teen, but there’s still a lot I have to do.. mum taxi for one!) and the freedom to have the life that worked for me, for us.

Yes, the office is closed on Wednesday – sometimes I work, sometimes I don’t.  But I won’t be picking up my emails and it’s more likely to be planning newsletters, blogs and other content that I am getting done than client work if I don’t have the day off.  Or I might be catching up because we had to take time off at another point in the week.

I’ve mentioned freedom a lot above, but not boundaries.  If you look, the above is all setting boundaries and the management of expectations that is allowing me to have the freedom – I believe that you need to do one, to get the other.  So, please respect our boundaries, our office hours, and our need for balance .. and if you can get the balance right between savoury and sweet then please let me know you’ve done it!