Sending a work email at 10pm

And getting a reply 10 minutes later. 

FML. I'm never going to get on top of work I can't even get a night's sleep of grace between sending emails and people responding to them 

They're probably thinking exactly the same thing tho 

why did you send it now? Whatever the reply was just do it in the morning 

why did you send it now?

I've just come around to dealing with it. It's taken me a full 6 hours to reply. This may be unacceptable service levels on my part given that delay. 

6 hours? You have to reply to everything within 6 hours? Christ 

If I'm thinking of sending a late night email, I put on a delay delivery thing to early the next morning. For some reason people seem to rate being super productive in the morning over staying up late at night...

I was once told by a partner never to send client emails in the evening. Makes you look unorganised.

He was wrong, they love that sh1t.

That was largely tongue in cheek. 

I was just surprised by getting a response at this time of night. It's meant to be the golden time where work gets done and no more accumulates. 

I don't send or reply to emails after 5.30, unless the absolutely require a response that evening. Stack 'em up in your drafts and release the flying monkeys at 9am. It's a lockdown initiative I love. 

I love dealing with something then waiting until the end of the day to send the email to the client so they think I’ve worked late just to do their thing.  Makes them feel special.

He was wrong, they love that sh1t. 

From having been a client more than PP, we don't. We think that's for bill-padders or attention seekers. Or we don't even notice.


Home and flexible working means alas this sort of thing will become the norm

fook this shit. 

Covid and wfh hae well and truly allowed work to take over your home time as well. 

Yeah, it's definitely a symptom of wfh. People seem on it all the time and everyone is getting more demanding and more grouchy. 

I start early and don’t look at email after 5.30pm. I’d disagree it makes people feel special to do their work late at night. I think it looks an afterthought. I prefer to push it out from 7am and get a couple of hours done before the calls and zooms go. Dealing with something early in the day tells the person you’re dealing with that their work is important as you’ve addressed it first in your day. 

The reason I don't save drafts and wait for morning is having to reload the file management system for every case to copy the emails to it. So much easier to send at 10pm when you've already got the thing open.

Wfh has definitely allowed me to take more "me" time during the working day and I don't feel so self conscious about finishing early (on the rare occasions workload allows it) because no one can see me leave. I've heard more senior people say the opposite though 

Interesting topic. I have seen a massive increase in phantom workload during lockdown/WFH - mainly in the form of online meetings and email.  I am in-house and currently have anything between 15-20 Zoom/Teams meetings every day - insane. Before lockdown it was maybe 2-3 meetings a day.  My job hasn't changed, nor has my output - yet hours worked are substantially increased. Horribly inefficient.

I don't yet have a solution for this but my observation is that sending emails (or being perceived as available) after 5.30pm only creates more phantom work. Obvious really.  Says he clocking off at 11.30pm at night...

Boundaries between work/home have become blurred and it is not cool.

What meh said.

Are you serious SS?  I hate receiving replies at the end of the day because I then spend time working late thinking about the content and formulating a response or queries.  I am speaking from a client perspective.  Plus it makes the client feel like an afterthought and makes you look very inconsiderate and disrespectful of their time. 


Littler, i am interested in that view. Why is sending an email at 6am any different to one sent at 8pm or 10pm. Some people work early some work late. I tend to work late just because i am a night owl. I often do deliberately do work save it and send it next morning, but I don’t think there is any logic to that bar it fits in with the anti-night owl prejudice :-)

On meetings, i hate meetings lasting more than 40mins. I hate meetings just to have a meeting which a lot people think is a substitute for actual work. They say wfh gives you more time but just fills up with zoom/teams meetings.

By sending late emails, you are either assuming your client works late or you are expecting them to work late to suit you and how you work.

No i am not. You just don’t open the email until the next day. Also if i send an email at 5am am i presuming you work early and expect a response early? Sending emails early in the day seems to be valued more highly than late in the day. You also seem to be assessing whether someone is disrespectful based on when you get the email, what about people in different time zones? A uk sender is disrespectful whereas a japanese supplier is not even if you get the email the same time?

Littler i think if you were my client i would land up sending emails between 9am and 5pm as a courtesy to you, but i just generally find the attitude that people sending emails late in the day ‘disrespectful’ bizarre. It’s just a time. 

A lot of

Good points on both sides. But the person with 30 zoom calls per day needs to start declining them or at least being on video and audio mute throughout

I take absolutely no notice of when people send me emails, and assume that if they have done so in the evening/early morning/weekend it is because it's convenient to them to deal with it, but that they have no expectation of an immediate response 


The yanks love it. Any sign of personal sacrifice makes them feel good and happy.


This is a huge problem at the Bar and was recently addressed by senior judiciary in the family division. Crime continues down this course and always has done. I’m in trial atm and get emails every day at 8, 9, 10, 11 pm and often post midnight. I’ve had skeleton arguments at 4am opposing evidence I’m going to call that day. It’s relentless and means that, after a day I’m court on my feet I’m then working until midnight most days and am just arriving at court now to do more before the day starts. 

It’s a combination of not being able to do anything whilst Court sits so you end up squeezing it in the hours either side and passive aggressive behaviour to put even more pressure on your opponent. In a multi handed case like this my junior and I are fielding this sort of stuff late into the evening in order to be ready to sit at 10 and not hold up court or jury. It’s all well and good saying not my fault but the outcome is the same if you don’t deal with it; we lose time in the trial. 

As a result, and after 6 weeks of this, I’m very very tired!

“I was once told by a partner never to send client emails in the evening. Makes you look unorganised.

He was wrong, they love that sh1t”

Client here. No we don’t. The partner was correct. If you must work, use the setting in Outlook to time delay your e-mail so it sends the next morning. 


Oh, and do think about your mental health as well.

Littlers I’m assuming clients have clocked off and won’t read it until the morning anyway.  The thing in resi conveyancing is that many clients are fitting in their house buying around their day job so quite normal for me to receive reams of emails overnight and at weekends but they just get dealt with the next day or week.

Half the business is in the US, so I often send emails in the eve.  Conversely mornings can be very quiet so unless there’s anything urgent I’ll often get out for a run or go to the gym.

Bailey - I feel for you.  There’s no amount of money could have me doing what you do (leaving aside issues of competence...)

Pinkus- you often come on here to whinge about how you haven't taken any holiday for  a year, you work all weekends etc etc.

Describing 10pm as 'Golden Time when work gets done' is complete and utter madness.

You just need to stop being so precious about yerself and realise that the world will not stop turning if you don't chain yourself to work 24/7.



Bailey - all you need to do is to rock up at Court at 10am and say you haven't even had time to read the e-mails your oppo has sent you, and that you will need an adjournment until  lunchtime to read and consider it.

That's how things were done pre-internet, and trials moved on OK - indeed seemed to be much quicker then they are now.

If the Judge gets shirty just stand your ground and tell them about the recent 'well-being' speeches from the senior judges.

Sorry, sad thing is I’m utterly unqualified to do anything else now! KBO as they say. And as others have said to me “this will end”. I hope!

Marshall, I’ve done it a few times in this trial. I don’t like doing it because of the stupid ingrained worry that it makes me look shit. We’re on the minutes as we lost some time due to covid so I’m conscious of not losing more. You’re right though. I need to be more “fook off” than “oh fook”!

Master Long's school has a policy that teachers will not read or reply to emails after and before certain times. 

I think it is a good policy.

The Head Teacher is an awesome goddess. We worship at her feet. She knows she is awesome and has openly told us all at the last big meeting if we do not like the way she runs things we can fook the fook off to another school. One parent caused a fuss about something and she wrote a cheque out for the fees he had paid and told him to go and find another school.

The legal world could learn a lot from her. 


" the best traditions of the Bar" has normally been the excuse for round the clock working during a hearing. I imagine that it has got worse though.

If you’re senior and sending regular work emails to junior colleagues very late at night then I will think you’re a bit of a dick. As you’re effectively saying work like me or putting pressure on them to do so. 

As for sending things out externally, anytime goes.  


I don't really understand those people who stick that stuff on the bottom of their e-mail about sending it at a time that suits them and they don't expect a reply outside your normal working hours because that just goes without saying.

Bear in mind as well that my definition of late in the day is after 6pm.

This thread has me nostalgic for a time when I didn’t check my work email/internal messaging system outside certain hours.

I would like to get back to that “after” but I’m not convinced that’s going to fly with colleagues in Pacific time zones.

I have to work into early hours at least once a week atm and responding to late night/ early morning messages is terrible habit to break once begun

Never thought I’d be hiding behind the skirts of German colleagues (who are militants about this stuff) but there you have it.

hay ho


incakenito agree sending emails to your team at 11pm asking them to do stuff is being a dick. Even if you do that should make it very clear not to expect any instant reply. 

I take the point above working all hours is not good for mental health but some people are morning people and some people evening people. Some prefer working late, some early. If I picked up a client didn't like getting late emails I would delay sending them to the next day. Wont stop do the work late. I just accept everyone is different.

However, from someone who started work just before widespread email came in, email has brought about undue expectations of instant replies.  You cant say its in the post!

Except for teenagers, virtually everyone is a morning person and is at their sharpest in the morning, with a bit of rebound in the afternoon and early evening, which is probably optimal for creative or admin work. 

If I check my e-mails at 10 am and see you've sent one to me at 10 pm, or later, it’s not great for various reasons. 

Pete. I accept everyone is different. If a client didn't want to receive an email at 10pm I wouldn't send it. I also accept everyone works in different ways. I do not expect anyone to work the same as me and vice versa. I am not a morning person. I can get up early if I have to but probably most protective late afternoon. However, I have always tended to be someone who stays up late. Want I am not saving is work all hours. I am happy for people to work at times best for them. Also I deal alot with the US and in other time zones, so sometimes I just respond to something from there immediately as its easier.


Random reference on web I found :-)



Feel your pain Bailey. I really resented how late everything was sent in Family work. 5 advocates reading the psychiatric report off their iPhones in court because it has been served 10 minutes before the hearing was never a good look. Maybe things have changed but we were all expected to plod on and deal with what comes in whenever it comes in. And you could forget an adjournment because of the 26 weeks rule.

Pete, I know you qualified your email with ‘virtually’ but please reconsider your anti night owl prejudice! Speaking as an extreme night owl who can barely do anything before lunch and am most productive from 6-11. Also needing to put children to bed and log in again at 9 is a very common issue for large chunks of the population.


I’ll use the delay function but that often fails if my computer comes offline. If something might be urgent I’d rather the recipient has it in their inbox rather than waiting for after the school run...

I send things when its convenient for me. I expect people to do the same (as in convenient for them and not for me). Its a slippery slope to start to shift your working patterns and preferred practices to "look good" as opposed to just do what you need to do. 

There is enough presenteeism in law already and timing your emails is just another symptom / example of that - doing something to show someone else that you're working hard / late / devoted - rather than this being shown through your work product. 

We have an email system at my place where it shows you when the last time someone was "active" on their computer. I am sure its a lawsuit waiting to happen - how that can possibly be aligned with a commitment to mental health is beyond me. 

That's properly big brother although I'm sure that most firms can work out when someone has logged on and off.

I've always stuck to the mantra my first boss had of "we all know you'll do a load of overtime so I really don't care if you come in late or knock off early every now and then just so long as I don't have clients complaining that stuff hasn't been done".  One of the advantages working from home is no colleagues cracking gags about being a part-timer if it's quiet and you pack up half an hour early on a Friday.

I’ve recently discovered the scheduled send button - don’t sent it late at night and get an instant response, get it to go out at 0800 the next morning.  Look super keen / up early and working on something / make it somebody else’s problem from the off without the risk of a reply that night 

doesn't the scheduled response come marked "this email was sent with a scheduled response"?

No it doesn't Clergs.

I agree Clubbers; delayed delivery like that deals with some, though by no means all, of the e-mail issues with pushy clients/people who respond to often not time critical/urgent e-mails irritatingly quickly.

I too do the delayed send thing tho annoyingly your computer has to be on and outlook open for it to work (I have found out to my cost). 

I often send emails late at night, especially to clients. I appreciate that it looks bad or that they were an after thought but:

1. I’m often updating them on the day’s events and I don’t start that task until late in the day, and

2. I can’t bring myself to get up early so if I saved them as drafts and sent them in the morning then it would still be about 10am when they went out, and will probably have been overtaken by some 7am email an early bird has sent in between.

Use gmail / g suite .

 Then you don’t need outlook 


be the client not the advisor