Companies urging workers to avoid after-hours email

With technology giving us the ability to stay connected at all times, many companies are debating about whether or not employees should have to answer their emails during hours they are not in the office. Although there are the financial advantages to having work smart phones given out to all employees, it can also be a disadvantage that the employees constantly feel stressed and overworked.

Because of this, hours at the office could be used more for personal activities (i.e. shopping online, chatting on Facebook, etc.). It also has the topic of work-life balance. Of course in management operations you want the fewest number of employees with the longest hours with the littlest pay in order to make the best profit, but when is enough enough?

It has gotten to the point where many of my own friends who are in the work world will be sending out emails all Sunday instead of enjoying their day off, and I know this frustrates them. I have also had other friends who I have called late at night and were still in the office, off the clock. Is technology helping more than it’s hurting us?

“At the Advisory Board, the frustration showed up in an internal survey of its 1,750 employees. Workers said they would be happier and more likely to stick around longer if they had less after-hours email to tackle.”

If a worker is not at their best, they will not produce at their best. It is about having a happy-medium between these two ideas where the key lies.,0,507363.story

6 thoughts on “Companies urging workers to avoid after-hours email

  1. This is an interesting topic, because I know I can relate to it in many ways. When I got my first smart phone about 4 years ago, it was probably the biggest mistake I could have made. Although everyone wants to stay updated with computers, phones, etc., it is also a good idea to give one a break from all of the technology that one then relies on daily. If one were to ask me if I would be lost without my phone, I would say yes. And that’s sad. On my phone, not only to I stay connected to everyone through text messages and calls, but through e-mail, too. I am one to admit that I hate reading and replying to e-mails, but it’s something I must do. Now, it can be beneficial to have access to your e-mails on your phone for emergency purposes, but it’s a constant annoyance when you wake up to at least 20 e-mails.

    For work, I do not receive e-mails, but I can relate to it with my sorority. There are constant e-mails sent back and worth between my own chapter at DePaul and the sorority on a national level. I knew that when I would join this organization, I would have to put a lot of work into it, which isn’t a problem for me. I joined it for a reason and I stay in it for a reason, just as an employee would at their work. For us, there is no such thing as being “off the clock.” We’re doing work 24/7 and a lot of it involves communicating through e-mail. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from your phone or computer, but upon returning to it, it’s back to work.

    My opinion on reading and replying to e-mails at work is that one shouldn’t have to take this task outside of the workplace. If it is work related and it doesn’t need to be taken home, then don’t do it. In a sense, this has a lot to do with time management, even in the workplace. Many times you see people socializing, walking around, or taking a longer lunch when they are having a slow day. During this time, one should avoid delaying responses to e-mails and get them finished as soon as they can. Sure, there are sometimes e-mails that can’t be responded to with one sentence, but that goes along with time management, especially outside of work. On the side of management, I understand there are things that come up and need to be communicated to workers, but the shorter the better. I can admit to not reading e-mails because they are extremely long. There are many things that can be communicated in person than overwhelming everyone else through e-mail.

    The last statement you made… I couldn’t agree with more. For me, working in an environment where it is mostly customer service, it is very important to keep the employees happy to provide better service to customer.

  2. I strongly believe in separating work from your personal life. I think if employees are overburdened with off-the-clock hours at the office, emails, and phone calls pertaining to business, they will grow to hate their job. It is one thing to be an owner, or someone of a high, authoritative position to put in long hours while the business may be young and in the development phase, but regular employees should not be asked to work on weekends or after work unless they volunteer. Furthermore, I think the employees would become less motivated to work hard because they are stressed out and feel exploited. So all in all, I think technology and always being connected can certainly have a negative impact on productivity.

  3. I agree that not having to answer off hour emails would make workers happier and more likely to stick around longer, but in some cases this is just not possible. During the summer I worked for an international company. One of the people I had to report to would always complain about receiving numerous emails starting at five in the morning because much of their job involved talking to company members in Sweden. Another one of my coworkers would be at the office past eight at night sending out emails all the time. So although it would make workers happier to not answer emails off the clock, in some cases, especially for larger or international companies, it is not that easy to please everyone.

  4. I agree with the point that this article tries to make but I also believe that while not requiring workers read their e-mails out of work will actually decrease employee morale. I believe that this will cause employees to not care as much, which will lead to lazy, unmotivated employees who are of no service to the company. I understand that wasting a day answering e-mails on Sunday might be an annoyance to some people but most of the time before a person takes a job, reading the job description and making sure that you agree with what will be expected from you can steer clear of this problem. If a person has a problem with answering e-mails during the weekend then they might have a problem with the job to begin with. In order to prevent this problem, I believe that employers must make sure they have a strong Human Resource team who has developed thorough job descriptions that each employee will have a chance to read and evaluate before taking a certain job. Another reason as to why this “no after hour hours e-mail” suggestion would hurt the company is that companies don’t stop working when the day is over. In order to build a strong company that will continue to flourish, companies must have employees that must be willing to exceed expectations and raise the standard for the next generation of employees to come. This includes a simple task such as answering an e-mail that might solidify a potential million dollar deal or answering an e-mail confirming that you completed a task before leaving work that evening.

  5. Interesting and very relevant to the changing habits and expectations in the workplace. It seems that everyone is trying to figure out where to ‘draw the line’ when it comes to work/life balance. There is definitely something wrong with doing work out of work because it gives employees the impression that the company does not respect the person’s well being…only what the person can do for the company.

    Then on the contrary, when people feel like they are getting burned out because of this, they may not care about the quality of their replies. There is no benefit to frustrating your employees during their time off (deserved out of the office), and show up at work more peeved because they neglected people or things in their personal life and now continue it throughout the week…until it continues on Saturday and Sunday. Eventually, being ‘plugged in’ and ‘on call’ will make people leave or become a bitter employee.

  6. I have seen many of my co-workers experience the same issues regarding the constant check of their email. I am an accounting intern and our Senior Staff accountant has taken one day off since I have started at the company about six month ago. That one day off consisted of several email chains back and forth from those at work and him on his vacation. Although several people made note of his decision to reply to the emails, he continued to follow up on the necessary issues.
    My only concern with this is that many people were aware of his decision to take a day off, in other words, they knew he would be out of the office and unable to answer emails. Yet he chose to continue answering incoming emails anyway. Is it really the responsibility of management to stress the importance of taking a full day away from email or is it one’s own responsibility to not check their email. If you are not being pressured by your upper management to answer emails while out of the office, it is really your choice at the end of the day. It would be refreshing for upper management to encourage their employees not to check emails while on their off hours, but if they choose to do so anyway wouldn’t that be considered a decision they have come to on their own not one they were pressured into?
    I do believe that keeping work life and personal life separate is crucial to keeping yourself and those around you content. It is so hard these days with the advancements in technology to ignore issues that flash right in front of you on your phone, but I believe it is more a matter of self control. It is the realization that there are more important things than work sometimes.

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