When Your Boss Bugs You After Hours

Follow these steps to regain your free time outside of the office.

Posted Apr 07, 2019

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"Slave driver" bosses expect their employees to always jump when they say to do something. They make last minute demands and never let the employees come up for air before requesting the next deliverable. They are task-focused instead of relationship-focused.

Does your boss contact you after hours and on weekends? Want to reclaim your free time as your own? Take these steps:

  1. Check your job description.
  2. If there is no requirement to answer emails after hours or on the weekends, then request a meeting with the boss.
  3. Share that you are committed fully to work during working hours. However, you have other obligations outside of work that you must attend to when you leave the office.

Try this language:

Boss, I am fully committed to my job at this company and to my role on your team. I know how important it is to you that I to respond to phone calls and emails after working hours. In order for me to be most productive at work, I need to attend to my personal obligations when I am not on the clock. Still, I want to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. So, I’d like to discuss a win-win for both of us.  I commit to checking in once per night and to responding to any urgent requests at that time. This will ensure that nothing is missed and it will give me a head start to prioritize my to-do list for when I am back at the office. Also, I’m always just a phone call away if there is ever a truly urgent matter. If I can’t get to my phone outside of office hours, I commit to emailing a response when I check in at night. Also, I will set an out of office message to indicate that all messages will be returned within a 24 hour period. That way, I can under promise and overdeliver. 

If the boss hesitates, then ask for a trial run. Agree to revisit the issue in one week.

Tip: Once you come to an agreement, email a recap to the boss for safekeeping. An electronic paper trail is a must here.

Copyright© 2019 Amy Cooper Hakim