Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Don’t Send Business Email After Working Hours

Be Courteous About When You Send Emails and Text Messages.

This is a simple request on behalf of employees everywhere who have their evenings and weekends disturbed by emails and texts from bosses and sometimes from coworkers or colleagues: Please don’t do that, unless it’s an emergency.  Wait until working hours and let people enjoy their time away from work. While you’re at it, put your non-emergency work away and enjoy your life, too.  

I’ve had to learn that lesson myself. I do a lot of emailing in the evening, which wasn’t a problem when email only was accessed from computers at work. But several years ago I realized I was getting responses at all hours from people who heard the little email or text chime on their phone, were interrupted or awakened anyway and decided to answer right then. They weren’t obligated to respond, but the fact was that my message was an intrusion.

Worse is when an employee is home and the text or email is of the variety that starts with, “See me about this!” Or, “Why is this being done this way??” After one or two of those in a weekend, the fun is over.

The bottom line: Unless the situation is such an emergency that the employee must be awakened, stopped from having dinner, or interrupted while relaxing, write the message and save it in drafts to send the moment their working hours start.

Yes, yes, I know there are exceptions and time differences and problems with remembering drafts and all of that, but you understand the idea: Show some respect for those to whom you’re sending an email or text. If it’s after their working hours, it’s the wrong time to send it.  They’ll appreciate you when they hear everyone else complaining and they realize the people they work with are much more courteous than that.

October 21st, 2012 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 8 comments


  1. Well Said Tina!!! I believe in good work ethics, however, family first. We need to be well balanced with both.

    Comment by B.L. | October 22, 2012

  2. Hello Tina and thank you for your wonderful training in Ponca City. My wife’s boss (an older man who is a workaholic) sends her emails every night, clear up until midnight. My wife needs to be in contact but these are NOT emergency messages. Sometimes they are just upsetting for no reason and if he would wait until he could talk to her in real time, he’d find out the answers to his questions. She asked him to not send any on a night when we were going out and he snapped at her that she had the phone for a reason and there were expectations. She told him the messages nearly always could wait and he said that was for him to decide. We’re hoping she can just quit there soon, but this area is limited for the work she does. I’m glad someone else sees it like my wife and I do. Thanks again.

    Comment by M.L.D | October 22, 2012

  3. Twenty years ago I didn’t call people every evening, so I don’t know why I catch myself emailing them. I’ll make a resolution about that.

    Comment by Dinky | October 22, 2012

  4. Hi Tina, in the C.A.’s office, we don’t have even one day or evening off without hearing from five or six people who apparently leave work. go home and keep working. I don’t know if they have no family life or what, but if they have a family they should be ashamed.

    Comment by C.H.M. | October 22, 2012

  5. Why is it that managers do this? When they’re employees they can hardly wait to get home, when they become managers they seem to have a need to show how much they’re working and finding problems! Drives me crazy!

    Comment by Careerist | October 26, 2012

  6. This needs to be made policy in most organizations. After receiving a cc of a completely unnecessary email that a manager sent to an employee at 9 pm, I made it a policy for our Division that all non-emergency emails must be sent during working hours and that any emails that require a detailed response from an employee will not be sent within an hour of close of business. Work hasn’t suffered at all.

    Comment by Big Dog | October 28, 2012

  7. I agree with this – I do read (and sometimes reply to) email at night or over the weekend but I don’t like being “required” to work after hours, especially for stuff that can wait until the next day. If time is crucial (i.e., my boss is about to go into a meeting on a Sunday), it’s understandable though still may be a hassle.

    One of the managers in our dept sends texts to her subordinates, frequently at night or over the weekend. She does it so she doesn’t forget the next day – it’s nothing urgent. I would absolutely hate that. Email is one thing. Text crosses the line between business and personal (for me at least, on my non-business phone) and if it’s not an urgent matter, please don’t waste my texts. I don’t have an unlimited texting plan.

    Comment by Cassie | November 5, 2012

  8. Hello there, I found this article while preparing for a staff meeting and will be making copies for everyone in our group. You are the only site I have found that addresses the problem we have been having. My cell phone is my only phone and I’m not going to turn it off at night. I also don’t think we should all have to spend time every evening and again in the morning, changing our call settings. The easiest solution is for people to stop sending unimportant emails after working hours. One of our team seems to think it makes her look incredibly busy to send emails at 6 p.m., 10 p.m., 2 .a.m. etc., and a few texts too! She sent five emails from 1 a.m. on, last Sunday night, when we all had to get up for work the next day! She’s not the only one who does it and the ones who complain about her will send them too. Our boss doesn’t do it, which is a good thing, and he is the one who asked me to put together something for the staff meeting that he could support. So, thank you for your realistic approach.

    Comment by Rusty | January 24, 2014

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