In a perfect world, it wouldn’t even be possible to access your work e-mail from home. But plenty of us are expected to check inboxes after hours. According to a new survey by the career experts at Right Management, one third of employees get e-mails from their bosses over the weekend that they are expected to reply to.
More than 569 people responded to the poll, which specifically asked if workers were expected to reply and not just receiving general office updates. It’s another symptom, says Right Management vice president Gary Bennett, of our increasingly wired off-work hours. “Advances in technology have enabled a 24/7 working environment,” he says. “Employees need to discuss communication expectations with managers and agree on what is realistic and what is not. Gain a mutual understanding for when something really warrants the employee’s response over a weekend and when it doesn’t.”
As a general rule, Bennett advises waiting until Monday to respond when a message isn’t time-sensitive. And when should you hit reply? If the message is marked with the dreaded, red “urgent” flag — or “if it directly relates to a project you are driving and has implications on anticipated results.”