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Curbing Your Email Obsession On The Weekend

May 12th, 2008 · 1 Comment

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Here’s an appropriate post for a Monday.

BusinessWeek has a short article about how some companies, in the name of worker and server sanity, are encouraging workers to hold off sending emails over the weekend.

I think we can all relate to coming fresh into the office, only to be deluged by a mountain of emails that can derail you from getting started on real work for several hours as you dig out.

Since late 2006, the PricewaterhouseCoopers email system sends an automated warning to workers logging in on Saturdays and Sundays: “It’s the weekend. Help reduce weekend e-mail overload for both you and your colleagues by working offline.”

The article points out that sending an email urges others to respond right away. Some might respond just then, some might not right away… and sometimes the email gets lost since others might not be looking for work issues on a Saturday afternoon. It’s better to wait until work hours so that this disconnect of attention doesn’t cause unneeded confusion.

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last couple of years as smartphones and blackberries have entered my life. Just because you might have transitioned over to a 24/7 workday, doesn’t mean I did as well. When someone says to me, “Didn’t you get the message I sent you on Saturday?” I think, “Well, no. It was Saturday.”

There are a lot of things changing in the world of etiquette related to the new technologies in our life, none more so than communications etiquette. I think the time may be coming when those of us who chose NOT to plug into an “always available” lifestyle will have to stand up for our right to only deal with work during work hours.

BTW, I’d link to the BusinessWeek article, but it’s not online.

Related posts:

  1. Working 4 The Weekend- Nov. 2-4, 2007
  2. On Email Blackouts…
  3. Outlook Hacks For Email Nirvana

Tags: Email/Spam Hacks · Productivity

  • Willy

    Things are definitely getting confusing.

    The Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 work schedule just doesn’t exist anymore. People work weekends, after hours, and in different time zones. I’m not sure setting a sacred time for no communications is a good idea, but something like an “Away Message” might be really helpful.

    Setting your phone, e-mail, IM, whatever to say “I’m not here right now. I’ll get back to you when I am.” would probably do the trick.