Has this ever happened to you?
It’s after midnight. Who could be messaging at this hour? Oh… dear.
As studio owners, we all appreciate and enjoy receiving messages from our students' parents – it shows that they are invested in their child's dance education, and it can help us build a strong relationship with them. However, as much as we value good communication, we need some time for ourselves too. In a world where most people are glued to their smartphones, it's become too easy for parents to send messages at any time, even in the dead of night. If you're tired of being interrupted by late-night parent messages, then this blog post is for you. Below are some strategies for handling those off-hours messages like a pro, without sacrificing your sleep or sanity.
Firstly, you need to establish clear boundaries with parents regarding when you are available to communicate. It's not impolite to set limits, and most parents will appreciate your honesty. Make it crystal clear by scheduling specific office hours when you're available to answer phone calls, respond to emails, and reply to text messages. Make sure to communicate these office hours to parents via email or in person, so that they understand when to expect a reply from you. If a parent sends a message outside of these hours, don't feel pressured to reply immediately. Give yourself some space and wait until your next scheduled office hour to reply.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
If you don't want to be bothered by parent messages at all hours, then technology can be your friend. Work smarter, not harder by setting up an auto-reply message that explains your office hours and when you'll be able to respond to messages. Alternatively, use a scheduling app to send messages during your office hours. This way, your message will arrive promptly without disturbing your precious sleep. Also, consider using an app that separates work communications from personal ones. This will allow you to focus on your personal life and disconnect from work during your downtime.
Be Clear in Your Messaging
Sometimes parents may assume that you're always available or may not realize that sending a message in the middle of the night is inappropriate. It is essential to communicate clearly with parents about what's considered acceptable communication times. Make a clear-cut, easy-to-understand policy about your communication norms. Share it widely, especially through key platforms like your studio's website, social media, and email communications. Politely refuse to respond to messages outside of the set communication time and advise parents to be mindful of respecting these parameters.
Keep Calm and Carry On
It can be frustrating to be bombarded with messages all hours of the day, but remember that most parents don't mean to disrupt your sleep or free time. Parents sending messages at midnight could be dealing with an emergency. Therefore, keep your cool and stay professional. Politely remind them of the appropriate messaging timetable, and stick by it. Setting up good communication boundaries now will save you lots of time and hassle in the long run and may lead to increased respect from your clients.
Remember: it's essential to make time for ourselves outside of work hours. Establishing boundaries with parents is a crucial part of this process. By clearly communicating and setting expectations, you can avoid being interrupted by messages during the night. Use technology to your advantage, establish a no-nonsense messaging policy, and remember to stay calm and keep things professional even when things get frustrating. By using these strategies, you can create a healthy work-life balance that will help you and your studio thrive.