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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bosses Get Busy With Emails on Weekends

One in three employees often gets emails from their boss over the weekend and they are expected to reply, according to a new survey we conducted at Right Management. An additional one-third of the 569 survey respondents also reported getting emails from their boss on the weekend, not often, but just from time to time.

The survey findings are another indication of an increasingly 24/7 workplace. Everybody once thought technology would reduce the drudgery and make the workplace more efficient. Sure, technology has delivered great benefits to employees, but also crosses the boundary between the workplace and the worker’s own private space. It seems one can no longer get away at all from work or responsibility.

We specifically asked if workers were expected to respond to the emails from their boss, so we were not talking about broadcast emails or purely informational communications, but those intended for a particular person and looking for a response. It’s now taken for granted that everyone has to check their work email during the weekend.

Continuous, borderless communications are now a workplace fact of life. I suppose it’s possible weekend emails serve to smooth out the pressures of a Monday morning, but likewise they may become an intrusive nuisance. We know workers are feeling exceptional pressures, and so many weekend emails may be counterproductive.

Managers set clear expectations about what really needs to be addressed over the weekend. And if emails might just as easily wait until Monday, say so. If you don’t have to send an email on the weekend, don’t send it. Create it in draft form and hit ‘send’ on Monday morning. Workers need down time. Weekends should be a time to re-energize. When bosses expect employees to be constantly at attention, you get productivity loss.

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