7:50 am today; I message someone in my team with a document we discussed yesterday afternoon - I wasn't expecting an immediate response. I then realise he had sent me a message at 7:30 am about another project - which I responded to straight away. It's now 9:40 am; I'm two [very good] meetings down and ticking things off the to-do list.
I'm feeling productive, useful and like we're 'on it'. But this article from the BBC has given me pause for thought. Does my colleague feel he needs to message me at 7:30 am to demonstrate he's on the ball because I set that tone?
Is it my responsibility [and of other business leaders] to model behaviour that gives people the freedom to properly disconnect outside working hours - especially in the pandemic? To have breakfast in peace without me impinging on their consciousness?!
My own view is that the desire to excel and be the very best at what we do sometimes means working hard - and, especially if you have a challenging and rewarding job that's good fun, it is okay to be asked to go the extra mile - sometimes.
The desire to run a fantastic organisation needs to be balanced with the basic human right and the need to enjoy life, to have some downtime and just be a person.
That said, the proposed idea of a 'ban' on out of hours emails from bosses with automated deletion, as suggested by Prospect in this article, seems like an overreach. Maybe a subtler technology solution - "You're sending a message to a colleague outside their working hours - are you sure this can't wait until tomorrow?" would work.
I'd love to hear your views in the comments...
Working from home: Call to ban out-of-hours emails from bosses