When you walk out the door of the office at the end of a long day, the last thing you want is for the office to follow you home. For some people, that's exactly what happens, in the form of a boss who doesn't know when to leave their employees in peace. Some managers are quite happy to send you emails in the evenings, late at night, at the weekend or even when you're on holiday.
It's one of the major dangers of living in such a connected world, where smartphones constantly ping with incoming messages. But how should you handle a boss who doesn't respect office boundaries and your right to a home life? Should you reply or ignore their work-related messages?
It really depends on the situation. If you're new to a job and want to build a reputation for reliability, then you probably should respond, at least for the first six months. After that, you know they trust you and can slow the response time or leave messages altogether.
Some emails clearly are urgent and require an immediate answer, while others can easily wait until morning. If you don't think it's important enough then don't reply – replying once means they will start to expect it all the time, and that sets a dangerous precedent.
What most bosses don't realise is that they'll see a drop in productivity if you're expected to be on high alert all the time. If you don't enjoy a life outside the office, you're not going to get the time to relax and recharge without thinking about work.
If you're new to the job, you probably should reply
Only reply if it sounds urgent
Emails on a minor issue can be ignored until morning
Your productivity suffers without relaxation time