In Germany, after-hours office emails could become illegal
Managing a team of workers who work flexibly from home can be a dynamic experience. With a number of passionate employees working hard on their own terms, schedules may vary from standard to unorthodox, with some flex workers preferring to work late at night or early in the morning. Amid the variety, it might be difficult to set some hard and fast limits on your business day.
On one hand, it's in a manager's interest not to inhibit productivity when the getting is good. On the other, your employees may have working habits that are irreconcilably different from one another's.
Recently, German officials proposed new standards that would prohibit work emails from being sent after hours. Called an "anti-stress regulation," the measure is designed to reduce headaches due to blurry lines between work and home. Romina Boccia of the Daily Signal says the solution is extreme, but identifies a common problem.
"Instead of a misguided one-size-fits-all solution to what seems at this point to be a largely imagined problem," she writes, "the best policy is one arrived at by mutual consent between employers and their employees."
Infringement of office strategy on personal time can burden your employees with anxiety and overwhelm their attention. The "no communication after a certain time" policy is essential for brick-and-mortar operations whose workers observe the same periods of activity and down time, but can also help virtual offices to keep disparate professionals on the same even plane.
The night owl in your office may feel behind the 8-ball when he opens his computer at 10 a.m. to find a flurry of news about collaborations. Similarly, the office morning person may resent finding her inbox full of overnight missives when she checks it bright an early. Establishing an acceptable window of time to post memos, ask questions and make decisions can level expectations for people of all work styles.