We at Catalyst are big fans of project management platform, Basecamp – it is a vital medium through which we communicate with our clients, helping us provide a holistic, more effective client service.
As a result, we were excited to hear of their latest development, the ‘Work Can Wait’ feature. What interests us is the role it could play within the field of client communications and how it can contribute to a more balanced and healthy work life.
What Is ‘Work Can Wait’?
Aptly titled, Basecamp 3’s ‘Work Can Wait’ is governed by a simple enough concept: putting you in charge of your ability to be reachable during specific hours. Though at first you might wonder why limiting the times at which you are reachable could possibly be a good thing, fear not, it is.
In your experience with any modern communication or collaboration app or platform, you’ll have noticed there is a very real, growing expectation for you to be reachable and available at any given time.
When, for instance, you’re contacted by a colleague on a Saturday, you receive the notification and are usually limited to one of two options: ignoring them (and likely facing further attempts at contact from the colleague), or cutting into your own personal time to address the issue which, given working hours in excess of the UK’s standard 40 breed unproductivity, this may not be the best course of action.
Even without considering the law of diminishing returns, a constant barrage of calls and emails outside of work time is likely to breed feelings of resentment in the long-run: clients and customers matter, but so does your personal time. It is a sticky situation that many often grapple with in providing industry-leading client services, especially in the world of marketing agencies like ours.
Fortunately, Basecamp has integrated the ‘Work Can Wait’ development into their platform to help restore the work-life balance, without compromising results.
‘Work Can Wait’ puts you back in the driving seat to steer expectations away from the “unwritten rules and obligations” of out-of-hours working so you can better manage expectations and boost your productivity.
Basecamp 3, as with other modern messaging tools, sends notifications in-app via push notifications on the desktop, mobile apps, or via email. In fact, much of the success of the platform is centred on the fact that Basecamp is excellent at commanding your attention whenever someone asks for your attention.
And while this is great during the workday, consider 9pm on a Tuesday night, or 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. You don’t want to be forced to continually use Basecamp 3’s snooze function to keep work-related notifications at bay.
As a result, Basecamp 3 allows you to create a notification schedule.
This schedule is such a simple yet powerful tool because it gives you back control of the working day. Need to be reachable throughout the weekend to support an important product launch for a client? Great, you can adjust your time accordingly. Need 6pm onwards every day for some much-needed family time? Great, factor this into your schedule or use the ‘Work Can Wait’ feature which limits your contactable hours to standard work hours (8am to 6pm in your time zone) by default.
Outside of your schedule, Basecamp automatically “holds” your notifications, silencing them until your schedule shows you are next available, at which point you will then receive your messages.
For a full-service marketing agency like Catalyst, the temptation to remain contactable at every hour of the day, every day, is especially pronounced (after all, we pride ourselves on outstanding client services). However, what makes this these new developments so powerful is the fact they offer a choice. Basecamp puts all parties in a position where they can best develop reasonable expectations and adhere to them, free of the feelings of guilt that often come with silencing business notifications on a weekend.
In fact, ‘Work Can Wait’ is helping Catalyst offer a better service to clients, predicated on mutually-agreed expectations. Clients are happier because they know exactly when we are working on solving their challenges and when we can be contacted, we’re happy because we get to relax and shut-off after work, something that in itself better prepares us to deliver to the best of our ability for the client each morning.