Is It Unprofessional to Send Work Emails Late at Night?

Is It Unprofessional to Send Work Emails Late at Night?

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It happens to all of us – you get home and remember you had to send an important email. But preparing dinner and catching up with family eats up your time, and soon you realize it’s almost midnight. After composing the email, you pause and wonder, is it wrong to send work emails late at night? 

Sending work emails late at night is unprofessional if you expect immediate feedback because it intrudes into the recipients’ rest hours. After all, the receiver may be asleep or not be in a settled mental space to reply. However, there are some instances when a night email might be appropriate. 

This article will explore all the juicy details of sending work emails at night. We’ll cover why it is rude to send work emails late at night, when it’s appropriate to send a work email at night, and when is the best time to send work-related emails. 

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Why Is It Rude to Send Work Emails Late at Night?

According to the Federal Labor Standard Act (FLSA), employees should work eight hours and rest eight hours. They should not receive work responsibilities, including communication concerning work during their rest time. In some states, there are statutes that entitle employees to snob communication from their bosses outside office hours.

Although emails are less intrusive than text messages and phone calls, they also cause some destruction. Whenever an email notification pops up at night, and the receiver sees it’s from the boss, it might prompt them to seclude themselves from family members or wake up to write a reply. 

It also pressures the employee to reply sooner to come across as productive and reliable. A repetitive habit of sending night emails gives the employee anticipatory anxiety, where they keep checking their devices at night just in case the boss sends an important message. Such a habit makes it difficult for employees to maintain a work-life balance. 

This scenario is common where there are no clear communication policies or boundaries in an organization. It might give the boss an entitlement to send emails anytime and leave the employee unsure when to unplug.  

The Downsides of Sending Work Emails at Night

Let’s explore the downsides of sending work emails at night in more detail: 

It Lowers Employee Morale

After a hard day’s work, your employees should spend their night recharging and decluttering their minds for the next day. But they may not have enough sleep and rest when you send work disruptions at night. 

Inadequate sleep has both physical and mental adverse effects. It can lead to high blood pressure, a stroke, and impair creativity and decision-making. In return, this harms your team’s productivity during the day leading to poor performance of your business.

It Causes Miscommunication

Probably you prefer sending emails at night because you are a night person. But imagine a scenario where the recipient is not, and they bump into your message when drowsy. They might misinterpret your message and draw wrong conclusions. 

On top of that, they might send a reply full of grammatical errors and typos, making the message incoherent. The situation might create an unnecessary and avoidable thread should you have waited for an appropriate time to deliver your email. 

It Presents You as an Entitled Person

Constantly sending emails at wee hours gives the impression you don’t respect your employees’ time. It can also imply you send emails at your convenience because your employees depend on you for a salary. In the process, you may stir strife and create an uncomfortable working environment. 

Employees May Demand Overtime Pay

Employees covered by the FLSA have a right to receive overtime pay whenever they work more than eight hours a day. Therefore, by constantly sending emails after 5 pm, you might be on the road to increasing the payroll checks. 

For instance, sending an email to consult about resolving a particular work problem comprises work, and the employee deserves higher pay. This can strain your business and lower your profitability level. 

Alternative To Sending Work Emails Late at Night

Various reasons can prompt you to send work emails at night. You probably might not expect an immediate reply from the receiver. Or maybe you are more active at night or have many commitments that result in you forgetting to deliver crucial information.

Instead of disrupting your team’s peace, you can take advantage of the Gmail Schedule feature. It allows you to create an email and set the time you want it delivered depending on the message’s urgency. 

Alternatively, you can hold a meeting with your employees to communicate your expectations. If you don’t expect immediate feedback, it gives them peace of mind knowing they can reply to your email at their convenience, irrespective of when you sent it. 

Circumstances When Sending Work Emails at Night Is Appropriate

While emailing late at night might be unprofessional, there are instances when it’s reasonable to contact your employee. For example:  

  • In an emergency: You send these emails when something goes wrong or needs immediate attention. For example, you could seek an early meeting with all subordinates to resolve work-related crises. 
  • If the recipient’s action will change the outcome: If the employee’s or receiver’s action can influence the results of a particular situation, emailing them late at night would be appropriate, as it increases the chances of them seeing the email sooner. 
  • When time zones are different: If you live in places with different time zones, it’s understandable to send an email at your convenience. 
  • When you have a work-related project the following day: If you’re making a business presentation, the manager can email you to remind you of important notices.

What’s the Right Time to Send Work Emails?

If you want positive feedback from your work email, the best time to send it is during work hours. That is between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday. Even if the employee notices the message after 5 pm, they’ll not feel as though you’re violating their boundaries. 

It also shows you respect other people’s time and have good time and organization skills.

Final Thoughts

Discussing communication expectations at work and setting clear boundaries helps you draw a line between work and personal life. Sending work emails at night might burden the receiver to reply, stealing their rest time. If an email is not urgent, you can write it and schedule Gmail to deliver it during working hours.