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Is Sending Work E-mail After Midnight a Good Idea?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 2, 2009

No! A resounding no!

Some corporate e-mailers may think they’re impressing their bosses, peers, or subordinates by sending e-mails in the middle of the night. And while an occasional 3 a.m. e-mail may be forgiven, think again.

It doesn’t take much to understand why. Just turn the tables and note how you feel when you see the time stamp as some ungodly hour!

So, from the boss’s perspective, consider these questions:

• Why is Jim up at 4 a.m. regularly? Is he getting enough sleep? Is he in control? Is he stressed out? Is he out of balance?

• Is Rebecca just trying to impress me? Does she think that I value this behavior? Doesn’t she know how to delay the sending of the e-mail to a normal hour?

Also consider what employees might be wondering:

• Yikes. My boss is e-mailing me at 3 a.m.! I wonder if he expects me to do that, too?!

• I better check my e-mail first thing in the morning; the boss may have sent me something again in the middle of the night. How’s that for wake-up stress?

• Whasssamatter with her? Is she losing it? Why can’t my boss get a good night’s sleep?

• Since he’s working 24/7, I assume he wants me to also. Gad, I hate my job.

In addition to these unhealthy perceptions, you’re taking a real risk e-mailing when you haven’t had a full night’s sleep, or you woke up in anger because of an issue at work.

Give it a rest. Or at the very least don’t send it till you’ve had a chance to review it in the light of day.

Marsha Egan
Reading, Pa.

Reader Comments

Bob Zeitlinger

August 14, 2009 3:53 PM


good points, but you're advice only works if you have a boss that is rational. I've worked for plenty, and I'm sure others have as well, who relish the fact that their employees are so fearful of losing their jobs that they are up at 4 a.m. to send emails.

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