At the beginning of the school year I met with our headteacher and discussed implementing a ban on sending emails between 7pm and 7am. I work hard, but I’m an advocate of promoting wellbeing and this is a simple thing that schools can do to help manage workload and wellbeing without any real impact on productivity. He didn’t hesitate to agree to the ban, and I informed staff that same day of the new plan.
That, unfortunately, hasn’t stopped from staff from sending late night or early morning emails. I’m yet to see one arrive at silly o’clock that simply couldn’t have waited until normal working hours. I’ve sent gentle reminders to the staff involved and had everything from apologies from someone who simply didn’t check the time (it was a few minutes before 7am) to a patronising and condescending rant from someone who didn’t see them harm in sending emails – which didn’t actually involve any of the recipients bar one – at any time he saw fit and who was I to tell him otherwise.
I’ll no doubt need to keep reinforcing the policy irrespective of the response I get, but in the meantime I’ve found a Chrome extension that might just do the job for me. It’s called Inbox Pause and it seems like it’s going to be brilliant.
You download the extension and install it, and refresh the page with your inbox on it. This then gives you a ‘pause’ button in the top left hand corner:
Whilst you have to pause your inbox manually (I’m really, really hoping for an update to schedule this automatically), you can schedule multiple ‘unpauses’ for throughout the day. You can also set a custom auto-reply:
As soon as your inbox is unpaused, any held messages get delivered.
I turned my school email off my phone a long time ago, although I do switch it back on periodically depending on need. No matter how much I love technology, being able to switch it off is crucial. This looks like a simple, free extension to help manage what can be an overwhelming issue for many people.