After hours email

Communication, On my mind now

4 May 2017 | 1 Comment

How do you deal with after hours email?

Open me now!

This is defined as emails you receive after your regular work hours. How do you deal with them? Do you reply to them?

In addition, do you also have your email available to you on your mobile device? And do you then, reply to emails you received, into your mobile?

So here is my take on the after hours email issue.

In my previous life (my previous line of work), I was very diligent and ensured every case or issue which came to me was promptly and accurately dealt with.

Working long hours was not an issue for me – and I often did back then. So part of this was replying to emails coming in. I used to reply to them right away and resolve the issues faced by my clients or my associates at work. They were most happy and often sing my praises. Some said, they would offer to engage me in their companies, if only the could afford me! Very nice words to hear! Though you knew they were just saying it!

When I bought my first mobile tablet in 2012, I installed my emails to come there too, thus allowing me to take emails on the go, and this increased my effectiveness, overall. Therefore if I was sitting in my doctor’s office waiting for my turn, if an email came in the meanwhile, I could resolve the issue. Good, no?

Then in the weekends, I was also answering emails here and there, it was no big deal as most of the issues were simple enough for me based on my mastery at work.

For sometime, this was the norm, and I didn’t see a big deal at all. After all, my clients and associates are always delighted.

Then I attended a program, and in there I heard this phrase: ‘Unless you are in-charge of national security, you do not need to reply to messages or emails immediately.’

Ah! What a good discovery!

I am not in-charge of national security. In fact, far from it. I could cause a national security issue, but certainly am not in-charge of it. I am very low on the food-chain, so this triggered a big change in my take of this.

Now, I only reply to emails I receive until the end of my work day, which is usually till 7pm my time (I take a dinner break from 5.30pm to 6.15pm, as I have dinner early).

After this time, I usually do not reply to emails, regardless how important it seems to be. I figured, it the issue was that important or needed immediate attention, the other party can call me, then we can evaluate the issue separately and resolve as may be the case. However, none have warranted this.

So, I learned that I do not need to reply to messages and emails, and while I have my mobile email with me, unless I am on the move during the day, I do not reply out of my mobile. Rather, if I looked into it, I would just know that an issue is there and it can be dealt with on the next working day.

It has been good, to have this discipline. Now people do not take me for granted, and I get greater peace of mind after I have logged off work and on the weekends, where I rarely look into my mobile contraption unless it is to make a call to speak to someone or a family member.

How do you handle after hours email? Do you need to review your habits?

If you are always replying to messages or emails after hours, then you need to know the criteria: ‘Unless you are in charge of national security, you do not need to reply to messages or emails after hours or in the weekend.’


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One Response on “After hours email”

  1. I have also learned to only work during work hours. So far no complaints from people that have had to wait for my attention.

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