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Be considerate of others: schedule your work emails

How do you feel when you receive a work email on a Sunday at 01:48?

After having my first child I enjoyed the flexibility of choosing when and where to work from. I adapted my routines and started catching up with email at very unusual hours: late at night and on weekends.

Every time I sent an email outside normal working hours I had a bad conscience. Despite my good intentions, these emails had some negative consequences:

  • Disturbing the recipient during her free time if she has push notifications on.
  • Create a false sense of urgency and despair.
  • Give the wrong impression that I am always available and that I expect the recipient to be reachable too.
  • Very low response rate.
  • Affect the reputation of the business I represent as a "great place to work".
Fortunately, most email service providers have now implemented the option to schedule emails to be delivered at a later date and time.
[Learn how it is done on Gmail and Outlook]

Scheduling feature on Gmail

Since I started using this feature I have not only managed to safeguard my productivity while respecting others' resting time. I have taken advantage of other benefits such as:
  • Deliver non-urgent emails at the time that they are most likely to receive attention (e.g., avoid Mondays 08h or Fridays 16h), increasing the response rate.
  • Work easily with distributed teams in different timezones.
  • Schedule emails that need to be sent on a specific date, such as "gentle reminder" or "happy anniversary" emails.
This was a quick win for me: an action that requires very low effort and has a positive impact on people's lives.

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