Would you pick up the phone at 10 PM and call a colleague for something that doesn’t require immediate attention? Probably not, but yet, most are shameless about sending emails late at night or even during weekends.
We do so because we expect email to be unobtrusive. It is, if you consider people have work-specific devices, but clearly that’s not the case. We carry our emails everywhere with us, on our phone and personal computer.
So when sending a late night or weekend email, you actually send these signals:
- I’m working and you’re not. Shouldn’t you be working too?
- I’m way more busy than you are. My busy work lifestyle has a direct impact on your leisure time, deal with it.
- This email requires immediate attention, otherwise I would’ve waited until tomorrow morning
So it creates pressure. Pressure to work all around the clock and pressure to respond immediately. Even though it’s not your end goal.
Now feel free to work whenever you want, that’s the promise of the always connected world. But expecting others to do the same creates unnecessary pressure and a tense climate.
There’s a very simple solution to this — schedule your emails using a service similar to Boomerang. If you work during the weekend, get some work done by answering emails, but schedule them for the next Monday. Working late night? Schedule your emails for the next morning.
It doesn’t make any difference to you, but it’s a big deal for your colleagues.