With the pandemic giving rise to remote work situations and flexible scheduling, the importance of an effective email signature has become increasingly paramount. Employees are amping up their digital correspondence to inform colleagues and clients of their active hours, signaling when they might not be able to respond immediately.
Such is the case of Jesse Kent, president of PR firm Derring-Do based in New York. He has adjusted his email signature post-pandemic, to state: "My work day may look different than your work day. Please do not feel obligated to respond out of your normal hours." Having unconventional work hours due to his global clientele, Kent has noticed a shift in his clients' work patterns post-pandemic. He states, "I've noticed my clients are also riding the flexible work wave, fitting in their replies whenever they can, even if that means pausing for family moments and circling back to work later in the evening." With his updated signature, Kent received appreciation for this progressive approach towards work timings.
Also mirroring this trend, non-profit veteran Laurie Greer, who served as Vice President at the women's empowerment organization NextUp, added a flexible work notice to her email signature during the pandemic. Her email signature reads: I work on a flexible work schedule and across a number of time zones so I'm sending this message now because it works for me. Feel free to read, act on or respond at a time that works for you." Talking about this, she says, "I want to be respectful of people's time, and provide them the opportunity to work when they find it most suitable."
Brenda Manea, a public relations professional from BAM communications agency, relays her firm's adoption of a four-day work week through her email signature. Instituted a year ago, her email signature now says: "BAM is a flexible agency, with teams working across multiple time zones Mon-Thurs. I may be slow to respond on Fridays." Manea believes that transparent communication is crucial to managing work expectations.
In an era where the boundaries between work and personal life have blurred, these email signatures reflect a new world order, emphasizing respect for personal boundaries and flexible work hours. Given the pace at which work cultures are adapting can we expect such e-signatures to become the new norm?