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Do you have lots of out of hours work emails?

There is an interesting article on the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57314814

Didn't find your answer?

"Work has got more stressful over the last year," says Claire Mullaly. an IT consultant.

"There's a pressure to check emails, jump on video calls and to be on hand at all hours of the day, and it's become harder to draw a line between work and home life."

How do you manage to draw the line between work life and home life to keep a balance?

Too much out of hours interaction with work can be a drain on mental health and can become expected if both sides don't have or respect boundaries.

I would love to hear your comments and experiences.

I have been an accountant for many years, and am a qualified Hypnotherapist, working to help people in business and the accounting community to manage and overcome anxiety and stress, and smoking.

Mental Health is an important subject, relating to many different aspects of life and work, and this information is very helpful to share in our community.

Thankyou.

 

 

Replies (20)

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Psycho
By Wilson Philips
03rd Jun 2021 10:20

I do keep an eye on emails as they come in, but never respond to them outside of 'normal' (whatever 'normal' is these days) work hours - unless the situation specifically merits it, eg the client knows that I am burning the midnight oil to meet a critical deadline. Otherwise I will often pen a reply, whilst the issue is still fresh in my mind, but set a send delay for the following morning. That includes weekend work, when the delay is set to Monday. I do not want clients to get the impression that I am available 24/7.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
03rd Jun 2021 15:37

That's pretty much what I do. If I choose to work, say, one evening I will just draft the email to send next working day.

Fortunately most of my clients don't expect me to reply out of hours but it is interesting to see the odd times they email in - some clearly can't sleep.......

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By Duggimon
03rd Jun 2021 10:23

I have never received a work email that couldn't wait until morning to deal with.

I don't check them once I'm home and I don't have a work mobile either, I work office hours and I work hard during those hours and once I'm done for the day I am done until I switch back on the next day. If I'm working evenings, which I do when necessary, I don't have Outlook open or my phone on, it's purely for accounting.

I think people who do otherwise have either set client expectations themselves that they will work out of hours, or possibly just have terrible clients because I have never once had a complaint in all my years in practice about not being reachable between 6pm and 9 am.

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Jason Croke
By Jason Croke
03rd Jun 2021 10:34

My previous firm blocked incoming and outgoing emails after normal working hours, a client emailing at 10pm at night would receive a polite "thanks for your email, we'll get back to you" type auto-response, and it also held those emails from your inbox and delivered next morning so even if you checked your phone there would be no new emails to see.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By sonoftwosheds
03rd Jun 2021 11:19

what a great idea, more firms should take this up

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RLI
By lionofludesch
03rd Jun 2021 11:12

"There's a pressure to check emails, jump on video calls and to be on hand at all hours of the day, and it's become harder to draw a line between work and home life."

I've never felt that pressure. I'll reply in the evening if I feel like it. Sometimes I don't.

On the other hand, it's not unknown for me to text clients in the evening. Particularly those in trades where they're not stuck in an office all day. I recall a client telling me that he was surprised to receive a text from me while he was watching Emmerdale which read "Never mind sitting there watching Emmerdale - dig out those invoices I asked you for last week."

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By Hugo Fair
03rd Jun 2021 13:32

Hijacking a BBC clickbait 'story' (that was itself hijacked from a press release by a Union with a vested interest in the topic) is not really the purpose of this site.

More importantly, as you can see from all the responses so far, this is a made-up 'issue' ... in that the solution is in the hands of each individual. There are already laws to tackle abusive behaviour by bosses (and/or unreasonable employment terms), so Prospect (the trade union) calling for government to give employees a legally binding "right to disconnect" is pure puffery.

At an individual level, learning how to manage yourself and your time (and how to manage boundaries of all sorts) is part of the process of growing-up. Those who purport to provide instant panaceas are either deluded or just after your money!

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
03rd Jun 2021 13:54

I'm not reading the article as it feels... sensationalist? click-baity from the heading, but I would think the only two groups of people who are under the cosh of having to be 'always on' in our industry are

- people who have let clients find out they will answer emails/calls at all hours, and
- people who are employees of firms who expect this sort of thing.

I was the latter for a short time, until I decided that wasn't for me and stopped taking calls (to my private mobile no less!) and checking my work emails outside work hours. I was told I was not a team player, work to the job not the clock, all that.

It was reason 37 why I left that employer.

Now you are lucky if I check my emails outside work hours even when I'm at my desk.

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By SteveHa
03rd Jun 2021 15:03

Emails only received on the work email address, which is only accessible via VPN/RD. I usually exit both at the end of the working day, and so will only see those emails if I make a conscious decision to do so.

I do make those conscious decisions, but it isn't mandated, and is at my convenience.

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By Dib
03rd Jun 2021 16:37

I don't have a works mobile. I switch my laptop off at the end of the working day which is generally between 17:00 - 18:00 although I might take a short lunch on a Friday and take a POETS day.

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By bendybod
04th Jun 2021 09:58

My work mobile doesn't get answered after 6pm (unless I chose too - which I almost certainly don't). It doesn't even come out with me on my lunch break most of the time, since I can't effectively answer a question away from my desk.
If people can't cope with the fact that I have lunch breaks and a private life, so be it. That said, if I know they work on site during the day, for example, I might suggest calling at around 6pm as a one off.

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By 0098087
04th Jun 2021 10:02

Here's a good one. Wages were done for a pub on Tuesday last week and emailed. Friday at 11.45 pm the manager texts with a query. They only had three days. Come on..who's got the six numbers for tonight. I'd take the football pools tomorrow. Same numbers every week since 1985. Come on! I'd walk away straight away.

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Replying to 0098087:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
04th Jun 2021 10:12

0098087 wrote:

Come on..who's got the six numbers for tonight. I'd take the football pools tomorrow. Same numbers every week since 1985. Come on! I'd walk away straight away.

I'll email them to you Friday at 11.45 pm

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Replying to 0098087:
RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Jun 2021 10:30

0098087 wrote:

Here's a good one. Wages were done for a pub on Tuesday last week and emailed. Friday at 11.45 pm the manager texts with a query. They only had three days. Come on..who's got the six numbers for tonight. I'd take the football pools tomorrow. Same numbers every week since 1985. Come on! I'd walk away straight away.

You're out of the office. You won't be able to deal with it today.

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By taxinfo
04th Jun 2021 11:33

We work exactly as excellently described by Wilson Philips and Hazel Accounts above. We, too, have a few insomniac clients.

Furthermore our clients do not have access to our mobile numbers which are viewed as personal/private. So there.

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Keep Calm, I'm and Accountant!
By i-accounts
04th Jun 2021 16:16

Aha! I am not the only Accountant/Hypnotherapist out there then!

I took a stand back last year when I drew a very firm line following the budget as my phone, email, whatsapp you name it were all going off at once from friends family and clients. I made an immedite point of setting a clear boundary and most people now respect that!

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By VATs-enough
04th Jun 2021 19:14

Made a daft mistake the other night.

Drafted an email for a prospect and meant to delay sending till the morning but accidentally hit send at 10.00pm. Oh well, he'll reply tomorrow.

Ha, ha, ha....10.30pm my work mobile is ringing. Did I answer? Did I ****...

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By johnhemming
04th Jun 2021 19:44

I think the key is not to expect others to respond other than in work hours. I have never really minded responding to emails outside work hours, but I run my email client on the basis that I have to tell it to download emails.

Hence emails never interrupt me. I push my communication systems towards email.I do have other systems, but I don't allow them to interrupt me as a rule.

I do spend time during the day doing things like the school run. So I am entirely happy to slot in some work during "non work" time.

However, I don't expect others necessarily to respond outside work hours.

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By New To Accountancy
04th Jun 2021 23:00

I think everything is about how 'I' handle pressure, nothing to do with clients, they're just there and always will be.

Some clients will take advantage if you let them, and some respect you and your working hours.
If somebody emails me at a silly time, I never assume they expect an immediate response; I assume they're like me and get as much done as they can, when they get the chance'

When I was a little girl, my Dad was sectioned. So many of the patients (who became his friends) were very successful businessmen. I remember reading on the wall 'Loonie ward' and I asked my Dad what it meant. He said, 'well, would you want to do nursing as a career?'
It was my Dads gorgeous and funny way of protecting me from the truth.

I think subconsciously, because of this, I've always been aware of how damaging pressure can be if it is not managed and spirals out if control. It is this thought that gives me perspective when I am feeling overwhelmed.

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By Barry Adams
05th Jun 2021 17:52

I ensure that emails do not send notifications and I do not read after 6pm.

If a client rings late or after 12noon on a Saturday I do not answer - they soon get the message.

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