One of our favourites: “Friday afternoon is reserved for one question only: ‘Doing anything nice this weekend?'”
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humour to Work,” agrees with this rule.
“Yes, I do think we should avoid asking most work-related questions on a Friday afternoon. And we absolutely should steer well away from asking weighty questions on a Friday afternoon!” he says.
Well, there’s a good chance your colleagues are trying to clear things off their proverbial plate and wind down from work mode during this time, “so being asked a heavy question is like getting a call from a telemarketer just as you sit down to dinner…or it’s like getting bad news as you head out the door for your vacation,” Kerr explains.
“In fact, I’ve known colleagues who have confided to me that they take a circuitous route out of the office every Friday afternoon so they don’t encounter certain people who threaten to put a crimp in their weekend mood,” he says.
Plus, if you ask your boss or a colleague an important question, for feedback, or for help getting started on a new project before they head out for the weekend — or if you ask them to make a big decision — you probably won’t get the most well thought out response or their best work.
“If people haven’t fully checked out mentally by 4 or 5 p.m. on a Friday, then at the very least their bags are packed and they’re ready to,” Kerr explains. “People simply aren’t as focused or as prepared to receive unsolicited queries.”
Even if it’s something that they won’t have to attend to or think about until the following week, dumping something on your boss, coworker, or subordinate on a Friday afternoon will send them into the weekend feeling like they haven’t tied all loose ends. “No matter how innocent, most employees will feel some subtle pressure to, at the very least, think about it over the weekend, if not bring the work home with them. The weekend should be everyone’s time to clear their minds and recharge their batteries; not worry about work.”
Asking anyone in the office anything but, “Doing anything nice this weekend?” won’t just tick them off or yield a lazy answer, it will also reflect poorly you, “because it can make you look like you’ve poorly managed your time by leaving it for the last possible moment.”
Obviously there are exceptions to this rule — for instance, if your request or question is urgent and you can’t wait until Monday for a response. But, in most cases, it can.
Here’s the full infographic from London & Zurich:
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