The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Let them be!

The norm for business today seems to be 24/7 access to people.  In some ways, this is a great advantage allowing us to have a work life balance, knowing that we are able to handle work related projects from anywhere in the world at any time.  However, it has also created an obligation where people feel if they don’t reply within minutes your issue isn’t important to them.  This is especially true of the employee trying to impress their boss.

According to a survey by Right Management, a division of Manpower, 42% of managers find themselves emailing employees after hours.  Link to full survey here   While they may not always expect a reply, the subordinate feels pressure to address their managers issue.

Managers are likely not aware this is an issue with the Fair Labor Standards Act.  If the employee receiving and reading the email is a non-exempt employee, they must be paid for this time they are working.  It is critical that managers understand who is entitled to pay under the fair labor standards act and classify their employees properly.  To ensure you are classifying your employees properly, check out the Department of Labor page on the subject at FLSA on DOL site

There is a lack of prioritization on what has to be handled now, and what can wait.  The world has arrived at a place where instantaneous information is the norm, but is that the culture you want to embed in your workplace and management team?  A great tip is to write emails when they provide you the work life balance you want, then save them as a draft to be sent during work hours.  Consider that next time you send that “urgent” email at 10pm!

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