Career Expert Says Managers Sending Emails To Employees After Hours Is As Bad As Showing Up At Their House At 10PM

Setting clear expectations helps employees know when to respond to work messages.

woman on computer George Milton / Pexels

Imagine you’re sitting on the couch late at night, trying to decide what to watch. You’re scrolling through a list of shows when your phone buzzes. You check the screen, expecting a text from your bestie, or a “sweet dreams” message from your mom, complete with a sleepy-face emoji, but instead, it’s a notification from work.

What do you do next? Do you answer the message from your manager or let it wait until morning?


A career expert shared why managers sending emails after hours is as bad as showing up at an employee’s house at 10 p.m.

Ashley Herd is an HR Leader and lawyer who helps managers be the best version of themselves so that workplaces can function as smoothly as possible.

In a recent TikTok post, Herd compared sending after-hours emails to showing up at an employee’s house late at night.



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“Why do we feel so comfortable sending messages and emails at all hours?” She questioned.

Most of the time, when a manager sends an employee a message after work is over, it isn’t because they’re trying to set that employee up to fail. The reasons for sending are usually way less malicious than they might appear. They’re probably just trying to catch up on work that’s slipped through the cracks during the day, without expecting an immediate response.

According to Herd, a manager might send late emails because “the sender is busy, and that may be the time that they’re getting their work done.”

Career Expert Compares After Hours Work Emails To Managers Showing Up At Employees' Houses Photo : Katrin Bolovtsova / Pexels 


The manager sending the late email might justify it to themselves by saying that the person receiving the message doesn’t have to check it until the morning. Yet Herd noted, “That ignores the way that employees might feel by receiving after-hours messages, especially if it’s frequent.”

She commented on the inherent power dynamics that exist in communication between managers and their employees. Unspoken pressure might make it difficult for an employee to wait to respond.

The HR expert outlined ways in which managers can support employees in regard to communication when they’re off the clock. 

Her first tip was to set expectations, meaning that managers should explain what they expect when they send messages past working hours.

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She gave an example of what this could look like, saying, “I send this after hours, but you don’t need to read it outside of business hours.”

She also suggested using a “scheduled set” to apply specific times for messages to go out. 

Career Expert Compares After Hours Work Emails To Managers Showing Up At Employees' HousesPhoto: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels 

Even with specialized tools for sending messages, Herd emphasized the importance of setting clear boundaries for employees, so that everyone knows what the expectations are surrounding response times


It can be hard to stick to the boundaries we set around work, especially if we internalize the pressures of the corporate world, even in our off-time. 

Herd concluded her communication tip with one very valuable piece of advice: Managers should encourage their employees to “think about recharging as much as possible.”

Recharging from work might look like not opening your work email after you sign off for the day. It might mean setting your notifications to “Do Not Disturb.” It might mean spending time doing activities that energize you, like spending time with loved ones, puppy family members included, or decompressing with some deep breathing

A well-rested employee can bring their best selves to the workplace, so it’s really in a manager’s interest to let their workers take time for themselves.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.