Why we banned email on weekends and evenings at Electro
By: Jim Struble
There’s a new term gaining traction as a hashtag, #SundayScaries-the feeling you get on a Sunday afternoon/evening when the reality of Monday and the work week hit you-giving you anxiety and robbing you of health and happiness.
Smartphones have morphed us into a 24/7 on-demand society and the “Scaries” are no longer exclusive to Sundays. The culprit? Email
How many times have you pulled out your smartphone in the evening, seen a work email come through or that you’d forgotten about or hadn’t had a chance to respond to earlier in the day? What would you do? With access to our work email through our smart devices it’s making it easier than ever to respond right away, but what starts off as a one-time thing can quickly develop into a habit-not just for you, but for the person on the receiving end too. By responding after hours, the recipients of your emails feel the pressure to respond as well so as not to seem less dedicated to their job.
This constant connection to the workplace and work itself is causing Sunday Scaries every day of the week across the US! Too many are taking time away from their families, hobbies, and missing too many moments due to work. It isn’t healthy, and it isn’t fair.
Shamefully, I’ve been the cause of many “Sunday Scaries” in the past. A lesson I will never forget, and I still feel awful about to this day, came when I read the exit interview from one of my best employees at a previous organization. He and I had a wonderful working relationship. I knew his family well, and appreciated his work and who he is as a person to no end! Unknowingly, I put him in the hospital for exhaustion.
I would email answers, ideas, articles, and more at 8 pm, 11 pm, sometimes 3 am! We were building something great, accomplishing so much, and we were doing it at the expense of his health–and probably mine too. When he had the chance to take a great position at an organization closer to family, he jumped at it, and I was so happy for him. I never knew until I read his exit interview that he had been run ragged by the evening, weekend, and early morning emails. I felt so guilty, and I deserved every second of that guilt. He shouldn’t have had to go through that, and I vowed never to do that to anyone ever again.
At Electro, we’ve been changing and evolving rapidly as an organization. Our offerings, culture, and way of working have been turned upside down this last year–for the better! The resulting impact has been fantastic. However, we don’t want to drive people to put work above family or health.
Which is why we’ve banned evening and weekend emails to other employees at Electro.
For me, it has led to more time with my kids… what would it do for you?