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This Exchange question here: Staying in contact with clients when I have a different sleep-wake rhythm (being a night owl or living in a different time zone) deals with the subject quite well, but it is more focused towards a specific problem. This question is quite generic. That being said, if this is mainly down to opinion or too broad I do apologise.

Normal business hours are Monday through to Friday. Usually 9am until 6pm (or very similar). Is it considered then bad practice to email clients during the weekend; large organisations within the creative, digital industry do not work weekends. The weekend is a time of rest.

Should all business communication be kept to normal business hours? Would you say you significantly increase the risk of your client taking a dislike to you if you email them at the weekend?

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Here's my opinion and practice....

I never respond or contact clients during any time I want to myself, ever.

That is to say.. I don't respond to or contact clients before 9am, after 5pm, on weekends or on holidays - even if I happen to be working. If I get an email from a client at 6pm Friday night.. I do not respond until 9 am Monday at the earliest. I don't answer my phone after about 5:15 pm unless the caller ID tells me it's a personal call.

The reason for this is primarily to kind of train clients in my availability. The moment a response is seen during traditional "off-hours" a client will customarily start to expect you to be available during those periods. Responding on weekends causes this to happen very rapidly. They'll start contacting you every weekend.

What it all boils down to ... if I want time to myself, it's up to me to enforce and live by it. The more lax I get with my available client time, the more it will continually dwindle down to nothing. And I have no intention of being "on call" for my clients all the time.

Note: I offer no services whatsoever which would ever constitute an "emergency" during off-hours with the possible exception of time zone differences. However, if time zones mean I'm contacted, it would be before the start of my work day... so I respond at 9am then.

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