Business

Work emails: Are you still 'out of office' on your commute?

Hands holding a smart phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption How long should you stay 'out of office'?

You're on your way home and your boss emails you. What do you do?

Do you respond? Should you respond?

A study by the University of the West of England has found more and more commuters are regularly using their travel time to deal with work emails.

The questions is, should this be counted as part of the working day?

We've been asking workers around the world to share their experiences of dealing with work whilst out of the office, including those whose companies include travel time in their working hours.

A good head start

Phil Clemson in Lancaster uses his commute to catch up on work emails:

"I work on my laptop during my commute into Manchester on the train. The company I work for recognise this time as working hours so I get to leave the office a couple of hours early and beat the rush hour.

"It seems sensible since if I did have to work until 5pm I wouldn't be able to get a seat on the train and it would just be an hour of dead time."

Mustafa Sami wrote on Facebook that he likes the 30 minutes spent responding to emails and reading work-related news: "It gives me a good head start and improves my focus going into the day"

Work-life balance

In California, Ana Viveros, feels out-of-office emails should be included in working hours: "It would be nice to see this reflected in bonuses and personal days off.

"I'd rather have a balanced life. Even when you are self-employed, work-life boundaries are healthy."

Meanwhile, as WiserNow points out, some workers deal with private emails or calls during office hours.

Remuneration is key for lawyer Miss V, from Sweden, who charges for the time she spends on emails while commuting.

In Brazil, Thales Rocha believes it's worth putting in the extra effort.

A matter of security

In Hong Kong, Ruby Cheung prefers not to deal with work emails during her travel to the office unless it is absolutely necessary. "Because work emails contain sensitive or confidential information to some extent, information security is my priority."

However, some feel the time commuting could be better spent.

Author and publisher Fiona Shoop now works from home and does not appear to miss her workload, plus her travel which was used for emails.

James Burbridge says commuting is bad enough without checking work emails: "It's an important time to digest the day or wake up, not really for more work."

He blames out-of-office emailing for the increase in mental health issues, adding it is "another example of how humans are not built to cope with the pace of technology development."

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Listen, meditate and breathe

Image copyright PA
Image caption What about music or reading instead of emails?

Raja Iyer in London says commuters should not feel obliged to deal with work emails. "Many of us on our daily commute listen to music, read something interesting (not work related), snooze or meditate, which are far healthier than paranoid pre-occupation with work and professional status."

And after work hours, Isabel prefers to listen to podcasts.

It is not just during the daily commute where employees have been expected to respond to emails. Spare a thought for Neil, who switched his phone off while on holiday, only to be told on his return he had missed a request to fly overseas for work.

"This caused some big issues with my employer and I had to spend a lot of time explaining to my manager why I wasn't there. In the end it was deemed it was my fault for not picking up my emails whilst I was away on leave."

Produced by Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team

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