Real Talk: Is It Rude to Send Emails After-Hours?

Working from Home


Profile Picture
Leah Thomas866

In the digital age, communication etiquette can be a touchy topic. That's why one FGB'er had a quick question for the Community that turned into a lengthy thread full of opinions. 

“Do you think it is rude to send emails to clients/business partners after a certain time?," the anonymous FGB'er wrote. "I generally restrict myself to sending emails during daylight hours (maybe around 6 a.m.-8 p.m.), but this might be an unnecessary formality on my end. Thoughts?”

Dozens of FGB women responded to the original poster with their own opinions on after-hours work emails.

“I think it should be fine,” one FGB'er wrote. “For those people who don't want to bring work home, they probably are not going to check their work email after work hours anyway.”

But another woman replied: “I will be very annoyed if someone sends me work email after work hours.”

A third said, “I personally think you can send whenever you like. They are under no obligation to open it, and if you work better at night and want to send an email at night that isn't pressing, why not?”

Overall, the thread was mixed. 

Some women didn’t see the harm in sending a late-night or early morning email, while others believe it could be deemed rude or used to send the message that you work later than other employees. A third stance mentioned the importance of the person who sends the email; if a supervisor is contacting you after-hours, you may feel obligated to respond, even though you are not at work. That could leave you feeling as though you are on-call most nights. But if an employee reaches out to a colleague at a similar level, there is less pressure involved with the email and response time.

If you enjoy working later at night, but want to avoid pressuring employees or colleagues to do the same, one FGB woman suggested the Gmail extension Boomerang.

“I use a great gmail extension called 'Boomerang'” she advised.  "I can schedule emails without having to save to draft and remembering to send.”

Boomerang allows users to set a schedule for when they want an email to be sent out. So, if you are working late at night, you can set an email to be sent early in the morning instead, and you won’t have to wake up and remember to do it. 

It is also important to mention in an after-hours email that you do not expect or need an immediate reply. 

One can casually do this by saying, “No need to respond until the morning, just wanted to run this by you” or something similar. 

It's important to note that in 2019, the formerly standard 9-5 work hours are simply not the standard anymore.

With more people working from home than ever before, more flexible work hours, and other modernized workplace policies, work hours vary from company to company. 

“As a late night emailer, I think people are way too sensitive about receiving emails,” one FGB’er wrote. “I don’t get upset when someone emails me before 9 a.m. I think we all have to be honest that business does not happen from 9 - 5 anymore. That said, a lot of the advice above is good practice. I’ve started drafting all my emails to send in the morning on my way into the office. I also try to set expectations with staff that unless we’ve talked in advance I don’t expect off hours replies.”

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!

For other work-related queries, reach out to the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from other FGB'ers.