Dear Aunty B,
I run an interior design business and have a small number of staff. Like all small business owners, I work long hours and often fire off emails in the middle of the night if I’m working late or I happen to think of something. One of my staff members made a comment about my late night emailing the other day and I get the impression it stresses her out. Should I be worried?
You should see the times of night I file the Aunty B column sometimes. Business inspiration can strike at all hours!
But I’m in the wrong there and so are you it seems. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, productivity expert Maura Thomas says late night emailing is likely to hurt your team. She warns firing off missives at 3am in the morning is chaining your staff to their work 24/7, which is ultimately bad for business.
“Being ‘always on’ hurts results,” Thomas says. “When employees are constantly monitoring their email after work hours – whether this is due to a fear of missing something from you, or because they are addicted to their devices – they are missing out on essential downtime that brains need. Experiments have shown that to deliver our best at work, we require downtime.”
So feel free to type out those emails when inspiration hits late at night but instead of pressing send save them in your drafts folder. Sending your emails during during business hours might just help your bottom line.
Your Aunty B