Occasionally I receive an email sent either very early in the morning or late at night (nothing to do with different timezones).

What does this say about the person’s working patterns or workload?

In many organisations, there’s an expectation that if other people are working late, then perhaps I should be too.  These people are quite likely to expect a response or will make a call outside ‘normal working hours’.

It’s great to have the flexibility of working at a time that suits you.  However, if you’re spending a lot of time working late or having to get up early to either get ahead, catch-up or clear a backlog, this will impact your productivity and stress levels.

The pressure of today’s economy means more and more people are working later and later in to the evening and over the weekend.
If you work late or you see your boss working late, an expectation is set with your team.  You extend the working day way beyond normal office hours and can end up exchanging emails and even phone calls with colleagues at silly o’clock.

If you want to work flexibly – that’s one thing but respect other people’s time and don’t expect them to be keeping the same hours as you.  Even if you’re the boss – lead by example.Keep your work and communication with others to ‘office hours’.

What can you do to redress the boundaries and avoid burning the candle at both ends?