Guidelines for Communicating with Employees After Hours

Posted on August 6, 2018 by Rick Rossignol

Businessman working with laptop on the beach

Communication is one of the key elements to success in a business. What happens when employee communication takes place after hours though? Do the rules change or is there a separate set to follow? RTR Consulting reveals some helpful guidelines about how to effectively communicate with employees after business hours.

Define your terms.

Expectations will vary from employee to employee based on their position type. For instance, different expectations may need to be outlined in your employee handbook regarding exempt or salary positions. Determine what is expected of your employees and what will promote a happy, efficient workplace. Will your employees need to be on-call certain days? Communicate with them in advance so both you and your employees are prepared.

Manage without micromanagement.

For communication to be effective, it requires attention from both employees and employers. If you plan on micromanaging your employees and listing off mistakes or concerns in a late-night email, then you may want to reconsider your actions. Sending emails after operating hours can be tricky. You do not want to flood your employees’ inboxes and overwhelm them when they arrive at work, but you also do not want to promote a negative work environment. Devise a management solution that will keep your employees on track and skip passive aggressive emails.

In evaluating employee performance or reviewing mistakes, you also want to make sure you abide by some crucial human resources standards. Reach out to your HR consulting expert to prevent your company from overstepping these boundaries.

Promote a happy workplace.

Did you hear about the proposed bill in New York City trying to ban employers from contacting their employees after hours? It is called the “Right to Disconnect” legislation that gives employees the right to separate themselves from work once they have clocked out. Would separating work and personal promote a happy workplace at your business?

Keep it appropriate.

Emailing employees after work hours goes beyond assigning employees additional tasks. It also includes socializing whether it is digital or in-person communication. To foster a productive work environment, consider outlining a set of guidelines when using company emails or software to communicate with other employees. Employees should also be educated on proper etiquette when interacting with their colleagues outside of the office. These guidelines can be outlined in your employee handbook as well.

Aim for efficiency.

Before you hit the “send” button on that email, rethink if the communication would be better served face-to-face. More often than not, tone affects the way emails were intended to be read. When you focus on becoming more efficient, you can streamline your internal processes and direct your energy towards building the business.

Be brief.

Brevity can be a key component in improving efficiency in the workplace. Double check your emails and any form of digital communication before sending. Being short does not mean typing up a speedy reply riddled with typos, spelling errors, and unclear directions. Less is more when employees spend too much time getting bogged down in the details and wasting their precious time trying to decode your message.

Pay attention to vacation.

The point of vacation is to relax and make the most of your time spent out of the office, so you can return to work refreshed. How can your employees get their fair share of vacation if they are expected to stand by their email or work communication platforms? As an employer, you should strive to enhance their employee experience and let them proudly set their out of office alert. Unless something is timely or there is something that must be attended to, employees should be able to enjoy their vacation hours, especially since they have to work hard to get them.

Do you need help implementing a set of guidelines for employee communication after business hours? RTR Consulting has more than 20 years devoted to developing effective and efficient Human Resources policies, procedures, and best practices for small to medium-sized businesses. Contact us today to learn more.

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