CEO Sends Email After Hours With an Ironic "Disclaimer" to Promote Work-Life Balance

Figuring out the right work-life balance is nearly impossible. One CEO thinks he’s figured it out based on his email signature.

Jamie Lerner - Author

May 3 2024, Updated 8:10 a.m. ET

Every so often, something happens in our work life that warrants a tweet. For a father of two named Steve, all it took was an email from his newly appointed CEO. He shares an email signature for an email sent after hours that encourages employees to email when it’s convenient for them. People can’t figure out if it’s a positive sentiment or an unnecessary clause when scheduling emails is an option.

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As people discuss the CEO’s after-hours email, it brings about a larger discourse about how to properly manage a work-life balance in a way that respects other people’s work-life balances. Perhaps what works for us doesn’t work for everyone, and while we might think we have the answers, an email clause doesn’t necessarily solve all the problems. So what does?

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A CEO added a clause to his after-hours email signature to promote a healthy work-life balance.

On April 22, 2024, Steve (@IGoBySteve) shared a short anecdote about his new CEO. “Just got an after-hours email from my new CEO and noticed he added this little disclaimer. You love to see it,” he tweeted. He then shared a screenshot of the disclaimer with the CEO’s name conveniently blacked out for anonymity.

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“Well Being Notice,” the disclaimer began. “Receiving this email outside of normal working hours? Managing work and life responsibilities is unique for everyone. I have sent this email at a time that works for me. Please respond at a time that works for you.”

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While some were quick to applaud the CEO, including Steve, others were skeptical of his true motives. “Don’t be fooled. That CEO is low-key testing you,” one of the top comments said. “You don’t HAVE to respond right then, but your choice will definitely be remembered.” We hope that’s not the case since this CEO seems sincere, but it does give the same energy as the classic internet meme saying, “No worries” when one has all of the worries.

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People argue over whether emails should be sent after hours in the first place, even if there's a disclaimer.

Many people in the responses felt that even if the CEO has high regard for a work-life balance, true respect for this would be to schedule the email for an appropriate time for everyone. Most people don’t want to receive emails after work because they’ll still get the notification and that could weigh on them as something to add to the to-do list. Others will worry about forgetting to respond during the following work day.

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On the other hand, it’s very possible that this type of position doesn’t require someone to be online for a specific set of hours and that everyone may check in and out of the job throughout the day. Some jobs allow people to do other things while they work — take care of children, cook food, etc. — and employees might have an hour or two at night when they finish up their work.

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And some people were so impressed with the email sign-off that they vowed to steal it for themselves! As for us? I wrote this article just before midnight because that’s when it was most convenient, so I can definitely empathize with the CEO.

And his self-awareness that his style may not work for everyone is what sets him apart. If Steve seems to love the disclaimer as one of his employees, so do we!

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