Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Don't Send Work Emails (or Texts) in the Middle of the Night

Does this sound like a familiar story — 
It's midnight when you suddenly remember a work email you promised to send at the end of the day. You're tempted to send it right then and there because you either have a deadline, or you don't want to forget to send it again the next day. Before you make any rash decisions, stop and consider the situation. It's OK to send it if your colleague lives in a different time zone where it's daytime to your night. Otherwise, unless the email is an emergency and you actually have people waiting to hear back from you, I advise you to hold off on it till the next day. Here are reasons against sending late-night work emails:
  They most likely won't read it until the next day. If it's related to work, many people often tune out of their work life once they are home. There are a lot of people who either resolve to not check their work emails after work, or not to respond to any work emails until they're back at the office. You're most likely not going to get a response if no one is waiting on you, so hold off on emailing until you're back to your cubicle.
  You'll be reminding them of work during their downtime. Even if your colleague checks her email after work, you don't want to add an additional stressor and remind her of the daily grind that they're trying to escape from.
  The a.m. time stamp is a little iffy. Even if you're more of a night owl, keep those habits to yourself and try not to send off an email at 1 a.m. It might make people wonder what you're doing up in the middle of the night.

Read on for more reasons not to send late-night emails.
  You're more prone to making mistakes. The worst typos come out late at night when you type an email while you're feeling really sleepy. Save yourself from some sloppiness and send the email in the morning. You also don't want to make a mistake and send an email meant for your friend to your boss.
  You should be sleeping. You need to learn to let go of work and to switch out of the 9 to 5 mode when you're at home. Tackling work emails might make it harder to switch out of work mode.
  The alert might wake the reader up. The recipient of the email might leave her smartphone on at night, and if her incoming emails send sound alerts to her cell, the sounds might wake her up from her peaceful slumber.  This is my personal pet peeve having been awakened by a work email that could have waited until the next day!!

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