Hold on! Before you hit send on that after-hours email, pause for a moment to enable the 'delay send' feature.
This way, your message will arrive in the recipient's inbox during their regular working hours allowing them uninterrupted down time. Awesome!!!
We’ve all done it, right? It goes something like…
📨 10.35 pm on a Tuesday night... "While that idea is fresh in my mind (and before I forget) I’ll send a note off to Sam in a quick email."
📨 6.30pm on a Thursday after a late finish… “I have 30 minutes spare on the train home, I’ll follow up on all those emails from my team that I didn’t get to today.”
📨 7.10 pm on a Friday evening... "Oh! I forgot to tell Asha that I finished reviewing the design and its ready to issue. I'll just send her a quick email so she can get onto it next week."
📨 4pm on a Sunday afternoon... "It's going to be another hectic week for the team. I'll give them a head start by sending them a quick project update for tomorrow morning."
But, let’s give a thought to the impact on our colleague, who’s evening / weekend / day off has now been interrupted by a work email (and the same goes for work text messages and calls).
When we allow emails to go out to colleagues at all hours it sets up a cycle of send and receive, checking and replying.
Giving ourselves (and each other) time to rest and to switch off in daylight hours helps to support our wellbeing, performance and sleep.
At a time when it’s getting harder and harder to switch off from work, we really should be exploring and adopting ways of working that protect precious downtime.
Why do we send emails at all hours?
Some of the reasons are…
Over-scheduled work time
To make use of our time commuting, waiting…
To free up our minds so we can unwind and get on with our evening / weekend.
To capture thoughts/ ideas as they happen.
To get a start on the next day / week
How can we do it better?
Familiarise yourself with ‘delayed send’ options in Outlook (see image below steps 1 - 4).
Delay Send Checklist
What are you (or your organisation) doing to better support rest?
When proof-reading an email, get into the habit of checking the time (yikes! Is it really that late?).
Use ‘delay send’ if you’re sending an email at a time the recipient/s aren’t scheduled to be working.
Consider using ‘delay send’ if it’s close (within 30-minutes) of the recipient/s knocking off from work.
Also consider ‘delay send’ if the recipient has only just arrived at work. Give your colleagues some space at the start of their day before bombarding them with emails.
When your feet are under your own desk, consider setting your intentions for the day before opening your in-box… rather than your inbox directing your day.