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Stress on Sundays....

Posted by: Jena McGregor on March 23, 2008

It’s Sunday afternoon. Easter Sunday afternoon. And since I’m not terribly religious and don’t have children to send on egg hunts, I’m not really celebrating. Thumbing through the Sunday paper, it was almost like the New York Times was reading my mind: “You are savoring the last of a leisurely Sunday lunch or a long walk in the park when you abruptly realize that your weekend will be over in a matter of hours. In an instant, you are deep in what John Updike called the ‘chronic sadness of late Sunday afternoon.’ ”

That starts off an interesting story about how workplaces are trying to help employees deal better with stress. Fellow blogette Michelle Conlin has written about the issue here for BusinessWeek. One of the most interesting stress-reducing concepts noted briefly in the Times story involved PriceWaterhouseCoopers: “Until recently, if employees sent e-mails on weekends or after hours, an automatic message would appear asking the sender to wait, if possible, and let others enjoy their down time. The message was discontinued after the company determined that workers had taken this stress-reducing sentiment to heart.”

Or until the email started stressing them out even more. I’ve got to think many people weren’t too fond of the message. I don’t know about you, but I spend most of my day in meetings and interviewing people, and I almost always catch up on email in the evenings. In fact, I find it makes me more productive than if I stop every 5 or 10 minutes to respond to incoming mail. Has anyone else encountered an email like PWC’s? Are other workplaces starting these?

Reader Comments

Jena McGregor

March 23, 2008 5:38 PM

Reader Deirdre Straughan couldn't post, so emailed me the following comment:

"The PWC message seems a bit... parental. If you don't want to be stressed by work email on weekends, the solution is simple: DON'T CHECK YOUR WORK EMAIL.

It's a subtle kind of egotism to imagine that your company will fall apart if YOU fail to respond to an email immediately, no matter what day or time it arrives."


January 29, 2010 5:00 AM

PWC weekend's mailing alert is not quite suitable for most people who already decided that they want to work even after hours or in weekends, I think this kind of approach even though has good purpose but still it can make some people feeling very uncomfortable.

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