Linked: Banning out-of-hours access to work emails could harm employee wellbeing
This is an interesting finding, seemingly contrary to what we’ve seen before:
“There’s a fine line between taking time out and feeling left out.
Not checking work emails after hours may sound like a welcome relief from the 24/7 work culture where managers expect their subordinates to be hooked up to their smartphone at all hours, but banning employees altogether from email during certain hours can backfire, new research suggests.”
I think what really backfires is the loss of control. Expecting an employee to immediately respond to every single email no matter the time or day, is not a great idea. But, neither is the opposite extreme, cutting off access to email except during work hours. I know, for me, Monday morning dread would be made 1000% worse if I had no way of knowing what was waiting for me when I logged in. At the same time, being expected to lug around a laptop everywhere I go so I can do work and respond to client questions at any hour would likewise be very unwelcome.
I think they key is giving employees some flexibility and control over how they deal with email. Let them access it, and make their own decisions about replying, or waiting until later. Each employee is different, making blanket policies for all of them about how they should balance their work, and how they deal with emails, is not a great way to deal with it. Instead maybe give them the freedom to work it out in the way that makes sense for them, even if that means you have to wait for a response to that email you sent at 11PM. 😉