Extracted from The Office, The Age:
It is NOT acceptable to be sending business emails at 11.52pm. Ever. Perhaps it’s job insecurity or perhaps some people just feel validated by compulsively pressing the send button but I for one have had enough and would like to formalise the hours in which we’re emailing before we all go insane. It’s Darwinism at its finest.
Survival of the fittest is no longer about who’s the last one blearily staring at their screen in the office at night. It’s about who’s last to send an email.
What better way to show the boss how hard you’re working – just CC the boss in on an email to a major client at 1am – hello pay rise!
No one knows you watched MasterChef and Grey’s Anatomy, called your friend in New York on Skype, took a bubble bath and then composed an “urgent” email just before bed. It’s genius, right?
Your boss might not be on to you but your colleagues are and they’re brimming with fury.
You’re strategically sending these late-night emails to appear busy and important and everyone is on to you so STOP DOING IT.
This is not just about my personal bitterness towards people who send emails at odd hours, it’s about how it looks to the outside world. If it’s not an internal email, then the people you’re dealing with will inevitably presume you’re stressed, under-resourced, working for a slave driver or all of the above. Even in challenging economic times, that’s not a good look.
Organisations should present a unified front when liaising with the outside world. Emailing should occur between 8am and 8pm at the latest. If you have something on your mind, then compose a draft and send it in the morning.
The most successful companies celebrate a work-life balance. They encourage staff to work hard while they’re in the office but they actually tell their staff to tear themselves away from the keyboard and spend some time with family and friends. Inevitably, they report happier staff and higher productivity. Can you imagine? As a general rule, if you wouldn’t call the person at the hour you’re composing the email, then don’t send it. The fact is, if it’s an email then it’s not life or death – if it was, you’d be on the phone or you’d be dealing with a crisis in person.
It takes two to email: the sender and the reader. It’s up to all of us to stop reading and responding to emails out of office hours, too.
That way the late-night email bully has no one to fight with. Email is slowly permeating our weekends, too, and it’s not necessary.
You might not even respond to an email but just reading it, knowing that a pending issue is there ready and waiting on Monday morning, will categorically ruin your Sunday brunch and the rest of your day.
Join me, hard workers, and turn off your email out of office hours. Otherwise we run the risk of a downward spiral, social life in one hand, inbox in the other.
Put down the email and pick up the television remote, a cup of tea, a good book or a golf club. Life wasn’t meant to be spent emailing.
by Nicole Haddow.