214 - 3 Ways to Prevent Employees (and Yourself) From Emailing After Business Hours
Emailing after business hours isn't healthy for you, your employees, or anyone else.
Taking work home can increase burnout, frustration and lead to hastily-responded-to emails, thus increasing the potential for errors.
As with most things in business, it's all about the execution. Here are three ways to set up your own policy outlawing after hours emailing:
1. Use other forms of communication.
If your house was on fire, would you email the fire department? If something is truly urgent enough to warrant getting in touch after hours, pick up the phone. If the person you need to reach doesn't answer, send a short text message outlining the problem and asking for a call back as soon as possible.
This will cover your bases in the case of an emergency and keep your team out of their inboxes so they can relax.
2. Come to an understanding.
Turns out, this is more of a generational issue. Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers, who are more likely to be in management positions, are notorious for sending too many after-hours emails.
Meanwhile, the majority of their employees, Millennials, are the least likely to send them--but receive more than any other generation. This can force Millennials to feel they are falling behind if they don't respond to emails, even if a response isn't warranted that night.
Come to clear understanding with employees on how everyone prefers to be reached after hours. If you identify a person in your company who is more inclined to send emails after hours--look at options to give them other mechanisms to get their thoughts out.
3. Talk to yourself.
Refraining from after hours email can be difficult, especially if your brain just won't stop. So, if you're the one guilty of sending too many after hours emails (like I am), create new forms of communication to yourself that you can organize and send to the appropriate employee in the morning.
In my case, I've created brainstorm Google Docs, email chains to myself, notepads and countless other forms of communication. But, I don't send to my employees until the morning when they can fully concentrate on the ideas or action items.
You still have to check emails after hours if you're part of an after-hours project.
If you're technically working after working hours, you still do need to check your email to get relevant communications about the project. Sorry, but there's no way around that.