by Mike Masnick

Personal And Work Emails Are Merging

from the which-account-for-what-now? dept

In the last year or so, I've noticed a clear trend: when it comes to work-related communications, I've been receiving many more emails at odd hours of the night or over weekends. It's become clear that people are doing work email from home -- and also personal emails from work. Basically, email has become an any time, any where tool for communications. As the article suggests, this could raise all sorts of questions about when is the best time to email people for work-related issues. Of course, some companies will probably only pay attention to the "personal emails at work" part and freak out, while ignoring the fact that their employees are actually a lot more productive by being more flexible.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Landon, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 2:41pm

    No Subject Given

    I would have to agree on that part. Most companies only look at the negative aspects of things. But then you could always look at it another way. The company is only going to sort through your e-mails if your not as productive. Basically, dont give your company any reason to look through your e-mails or make policy changes. But then again, it only really does take one apple to spoil the bunch (or barrel, or whatever it is). As far as I am concerned, their are a few personal e-mails that I would like to get out of the way while I am at work, and a few work e-mails I would like to get out of the way while I am at home. In the long run though, I would easily say that I spend far more time at home doing my work, than at work doing personal things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Matt, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 3:14pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I've been noticing a sort of change, at least within me and my colleagues, in their entire view of work/home, and lack of seeing a difference. What I mean is, if I'm at work and I need to get on IM, or send some emails, or order a present, or do any other thing that I feel like - well then I'm going to do it. But, at the same time, when I have a deadline to meet and a project needs to be completed, I'll logon from home or work late.
    I don't see any difference between the two, I see it as having a set of responsibilities, and whatever time is convenient to get one done, that's when it's done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    dave, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 3:14pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    True, or just have your personal email be something you can access from anywhere w/ a web based interface... and you won't have to worry about such things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Mike, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 3:38pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Using web based email interface is a great idea but my company has blocked access to all of them. We can't use IM either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    data64, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 3:46pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    I use ssh to get around a lot of such restrictions. Thankfully, that is still allowed by some places.

    There's also an open source project called SSL Explorer which essentially will let you VPN into your home network over https.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Rahul R Sheth, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 4:28pm


    Quite true. Most times the stress at the workplace makes thinking clearly and writing precise emails difficult, and I find my self connecting remotely from home to check emails and faxes and reply to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Bad Employee Bad!, Dec 21st, 2005 @ 11:40pm

    Email at work?

    Seems like there are a number of employees who can take personal emails at work, and still be productive. However, there have been a number of employees that I had to cut off from personal email because they just weren't getting anything done at all.

    Really, you have to look at it case by case, and I can understand why a company might not want to do that, and instead, just create policies that punish employees who do personal emailing.

    My own pratice, though, is to let the employee mess up and punish those who punish the rest of us by spending too much time emailing friends and family.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, Dec 22nd, 2005 @ 2:32am

    But what about the opposite?

    Mike, you say that companies care about personal mail at work, and most of the articles are about that, but I've never encountered this. Rather we worry about the opposite: work mail from home, for security reasons. People send stuff between work colleagues thats shouldn't leave the company. I don't worry so much about the mail being intercepted (infinitesimal probability) but rather lying around on a disk on a machine that someone will later toss.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    thecaptain, Dec 22nd, 2005 @ 6:02am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I see it the same way.

    Most managers are obsessed about time and money tho. They see it this way:

    (Note, actually had a VP explain it in these terms to me at my LAST company)

    from 9 to 5, they are paying YOU money to work...every minute you aren't working is money YOU are ripping off the company.

    After hours, they don't pay you, so any work they get you to do is a bonanza FOR the company. (notice how it doesn't go both ways?)

    The above line of thinking usually is coupled with a completely incompetent view of goals and deliverables accomplished.

    Where I work now, there's no 9 to 5, its flex time and working from home is possible in most circumstances (only not as a regular event..more like once in a while).

    My current boss put it this way:

    We pay you a salary and give you deliverables to provide. We don't run a kindergarden. You come in when you want, do your time, be here for support and meetings. Come late, leave early now and again, there's no problem as long as the job gets done.

    BUT, the reverse is true. In return for not micromanaging every minute of every day, they expect us to take responsibility and to put in the extra hours when a project IS late or needs more work than usual. We don't get overtime pay.

    Know what? People work the extra hours as needed and usually don't complain...and I'm betting MORE employees here go the extra mile than at my last company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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