1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Work phone/work email

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by gmailcom, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn't work. At least in challenging schools or those with weak leaders.

    I recall at least three big culprits who used the system and sent 9 to 10 emails each weekend on a regular basis. Sadly it meant people 'felt obliged' to respond to emails then and there due to worry and the stress of leaving it till Monday.

    It also allowed the culprits to get lazier. They always sent late and last minute emails but they wrongly pouted they were sending them 'early". A clear, transparent, fair and equal policy for all is better than a 'there are emails there for you in case you want to work all hours' one.
    NarnianRoyalty likes this.
  2. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, your experience may be true for some schools - it wasn't for mine or those of some others who have posted.

    A clear transparent policy which says that you are entitled to send and read emails as and when you want, but do not have to do so outside school hours seems to deal with this issue. If a member of staff does say or imply that their emails should be checked outside school hours, then management need to deal with it. If management are too weak to do so, then that is a problem in itself; such management is unlikely to enforce the sort of policy you suggest anyway.

    This is not about emails being sent late. If they are sent at 8am instead of the night before with the expectation of a quick answer, that is just as bad.

    Perhaps our differences just relate to experience. I never had any problems because I didn't read an email sent on Friday evening until over a week later because half-term intervened. But if you are or have been in a school where this is an issue, perhaps the rule you suggest is needed.
    Pomza and GeordieKC like this.
  3. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Maybe so.

    Sadly I came across several staff who 'felt obliged' to email demands sent by their direct bosses and line mamagers.Sadly they wanted to impress and saw weekend working at the same time as their better paid boss as a potential route to promotion. Such is the danger of a policy that allows emails to be sent outside of working hours imho.

    I have known teachers 'feel obliged to reply' at Friday night to an email sent at 1am. And then reply again at 3am to a further email request sent back. Not good for well being; Not good for mental health; and a terrible example to set imho by anyone. It screams poor management of time in my experience and awful leadership.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  4. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, that is sad. I was never high enough in the pecking order to make anybody feel obliged to answer any emails from me, (not that I ever sent them later than very early evening) and I had enough life experience to not feel obliged to check my own emails when it didn't suit me. If people feel like this, then the school needs to make it absolutely clear that it is not expected that emails will be checked outside school hours.

    The "impress the boss" culture is one I dislike; indeed it was one reason I left my career in finance. Shortly after I became head of my department, I discovered that people didn't go home until I had left. I made it clear that, as long as the work was done, I didn't mind when people left.
    Pomza and Happygopolitely like this.
  5. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Lead commenter

    We are expected to use the delayed delivery option. So far, it has not resulted in a "deluge" of emails at 8 am. For context, we are "under new management" and this is just one of the things they have introduced to try and reduce the frankly ridiculous pressure we were all suffering under the previous regime. I suspect that when emailing each other SLT probably ignore this rule, but for the rest of us it is working very well at the moment. The sheer volume of (often unnecessary) emails has reduced significantly.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Having said all that the best system I encountered was a school that didn't allow their staff to take laptops home.
    Sally006 likes this.
  7. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I receive emails at all times of the day, night and weekend. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest when colleagues choose to send them. Some I respond to straight away, some I wait until the next (working) day. I can choose whether or not I open up my work emails or not and when I reply, as can all my colleagues.

    Don’t see any problem with this.
  8. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I think a blanket approach is needed to protect all employees - high and low ranking - in this day and age.

    I had a mate who threatened to use the 'harrassment policy' and argued that the number of out of work emails to her were causing stress and unacceptable work expectations. Needless to say out of work emails became less.

    I do believe a law is needed - similar to that in France maybe. One which explicity states the right for all to 'disconnect from emails' after a certain time.
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    But this is already the legal position. You are not legally obliged to undertake any work for your employer outside of your agreed/contracted days/hours. This includes the reading of, or replying to, emails...
  10. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Gotta say I wasn't aware of that but then I don't use email much. Can you direct me to which law you are referencing please?

    I wonder why some employees feel it necessary then to put pressure on others (especially of lower rank) by sending emails outside of normal hours? And even worse why some schools regularly allow the sending of emails outside of school hours? It seems to fly in the face of the law you are referencing. Maybe late emailing is akin to a 'workplace culture' where there is a 'do as we do or go approach'.
  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I do think that anybody involved in interviewing prospective candidates should give (work) contact details out to candidates as part of the interview process as there is little more annoying and soul destroying than wanting feedback where unsuccessful and getting through to the interviewers being harder than getting through to the dead.
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It would be fine with me, as long as it didn't become a rule on when you are allowed to send or read emails. Although, as @Pomza says, the law is already on the side of someone who decides not to read emails outside working hours.
  13. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I would prefer a rule especially in this day and age of stressed teachers. Lets face it - no reasonable time has ever really been made in the working day for the checking of emails for full-time teachers.

    As for the law I am keen to see the reference as I wasn't aware we had one similar to France. Indeed, if there is one, no one seems to be telling teachers about it too much. Which lends itself to the notion that teachers are in fact 'expected' to check late night emails outside of their working day because there is no time available to check them otherwise.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Under STPCD, teachers can only be told what to do during directed time, so they cannot be told to check emails late in the evening. If the expectation becomes a burden, then the unions need to get involved.

    this is not just a teaching issue - it applies in other jobs where there is not the protection of STPCD.
    Pomza likes this.
  15. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    A colleague told me earlier in the year they’d received over 50 emails from a member of the SLT late one Saturday night. I wish I could say I had trouble believing it, but I know what my inbox looks like on a Monday morning.

    To be clear, I don’t have a problem with anyone working on a Saturday evening if they so choose, but it’s getting ridiculous. Everything that comes into our Admin account is spammed out to everyone, regardless of whether it’s relevant or useful. Then the important stuff gets drowned in it, and it takes so long to wade through it that it becomes another huge task each day.

    I shall be saying something about this come September...
  16. powerpointdave

    powerpointdave New commenter

    Work have my home email (work email as well, obviously) and my home and mobile number.
    I choose not to have my work email on my mobile. I am lucky enough to work in a school that does not expect staff to check emails sent outside of working hours and actively dissuades staff from making work calls out of hours.
    Staff can send emails when suits them (night owls/early birds) but on the understanding that others are not obliged to check their mail out of hours.
    Seems to work for all involved but I can understand why some may wish to have a separate phone etc.
    Piranha likes this.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Some of our SLT send emails outside working hours...no pressure is put on me because I don't know about it, so don't feel pressured to reply.

    I like that we allow sending emails outside of working hours. It means I can claim all kinds of reasons for not replying, other than 'ooops I was chatting to X all the way through my PPA because she had chocolate in her classroom, so I didn't check emails'.

    Defining 'school hours' would be tricky anyway. Someone would send an email at 5.15pm because they are in school until 6pm. But the recipient left at 4.45pm so didn't get it until the next day. Or the recipient is one of the daft ones you reference who then reads it when they get home and it pops up in their phone. What do they do then? Answer it? Not allowed, they are at home...but the sender is still at school!
    Pomza likes this.
  18. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    And when this has been discussed on here before several posters with young children objected to any rule that said no emails can be sent outside of school time and considered it would discriminate against people with young children. They liked to leave school immediately to have time with their children, bath them, get them to bed, and only once their children were asleep start on their emails and school work.
    Pomza likes this.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I used to walk to school, and tried to do as much marking as I could during PPA time so that I didn't have to carry books between home and school. So, I often dealt with emails at home. I got to know who would be likely to reply immediately and who wouldn't see them until the next day; no problem for me in either case.
    Pomza and caterpillartobutterfly like this.

Share This Page