Posted March 29, 2012
When I first opened the agency (over a decade ago, ahem), Azalea’s business hours mattered. I was often asked if I worked weekends or had evening appointments. Technology wasn’t what it is now and accessing my work email anywhere but my big Dell desktop at the office was a nightmare. The original phone system was a complicated affair and when I wasn’t in the office, the office was basically closed.
And so, Azalea had strict business hours that we made everyone aware of and that I tried not to stray from. It was the only fair way for clients and talent to know how and when to reach me.
As time went on, staying “plugged in” was easier and easier. My phone and my Palm Pilot (remember those!?!) became one. I not only joined the Apple cult, but I upgraded to a laptop. The iPhone was released. More and more of my business calls with clients took place from one cell phone to another while we both ran around town rather than each of us at our desks. Requests from clients started coming in at 7am, 6pm, 9pm, 2am. My clients were experiencing the same “office freedom” that I was and were working when it was convenient for them, not during “business hours”.
My job is to be available when the clients have work! Rigid 9-5 hours no longer made the agency reliable, it made Azalea stuffy and old fashioned. I strive to work on projects in conjunction with my clients. I try to be available as much as possible when the rush is on and I deal with the day to day business tasks when I have time. Usually that is still during the regular old business day, but sometimes it is in the evening or on Sunday morning or whenever I have time to focus and crank things out. I often get email responses from talent saying “why are you working at 9pm!?!”
The flip side of this is that it’s hard to get away from work. Having easy constant access to my phone calls and emails means I have to sometimes shut everything off to keep myself from working around the clock! I try to respond to the urgent things ASAP and everything else within one day, but I do try to avoid the office (no matter how virtual) on the weekends and most evenings if I can. I think many of my clients feel the same way!
These days when I’m asked for Azalea’s business hours I usually say “9-5ish or when you need me”. I’m trying to walk the line between instant gratification and efficiency! I hope this means that when you need me, I’ll be available!