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Bad practice - how to impose limits
Thread poster: Phillippa May Bennett

Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:45
Member
Portuguese to English
May 9, 2009

Happy Saturday to everyone first of all....

Maybe I'm over reacting and I guess some people may think this is *ok*.... but last night I had two missed calls on my mobile around 21:15 (Friday evening). As my working day was over I was doing something else, cooking, eating... By chance I then checked my email and to my horror I found that a *certain* agency (I'd never worked for them before) had had the cheek to ring me on a Friday evening after 9pm about an *urgent* project and according to the email they wanted me to contact them asap.

Has anyone else had this problem at all? Is there any way of imposing limits, saying these are my working hours?! I really felt like *my* time was being invaded. I'm beginning to think that I may have to have two mobile phones - one for work and one for private calls.

I hasten to add I WILL NOT be working for this agency....

Ah yes - I forgot to mention as well the agency is in the same country so no time zone problems...



[Edited at 2009-05-09 14:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-05-09 15:11 GMT]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:45
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I do not accept jobs from anyone who contacts me during unsociable hours May 9, 2009

My experience to date has shown that people who contact me during unsociable hours (especially those for whom I have never worked before) are much more likely to be problem payers - if, indeed, they pay at all.

I generally answer their enquiry during the morning of the next working day. They very rarely answer then.

I do not think it is anything to get upset about. You cannot stop them trying to contact you. There is an option somewhere on your profile page (in connection with the availability calendar) to state your working hours and tick boxes saying whether or not you are to be considered unavailable outside these hours. Maybe you could check this out.

You may wish to be more lenient towards anyone who is in a different time zone and contacts you during their own working hours. However, they ought to be checking what time it is where you are first.

Astrid

[Edited at 2009-05-09 15:08 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:45
French to English
Auto-reply? May 9, 2009

Phillippa Bennett wrote:
By chance I then checked my email ....

"By chance?" Well, whatever happens, I wouldn't feel bad if I were you, unless you have a website or profile that guarantees a response 24/7.

Different matter with an existing customer if you have made (or ususally make) yourself available outside standard hours, of course. But for a new contact, if you don't feel like it.... don't do it.

contact them asap.

....Monday morning, then.

Has anyone else had this problem at all? Is there any way of imposing limits, saying these are my working hours?

I use my email's auto-reply feature when I'm not "at work" during usual working hours. If you find you are getting a lot of this kind of request, then perhaps you could set it over the weekend as well? Then any new contacts will know you will not be in touch until Monday, or whenever.


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:45
Member
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks - am already feeling better :-) May 9, 2009

I like the auto reply idea! If it continues I will most definitely put that into action. And I agree about new customer/exisiting one as well.

I'll send them a polite email on Monday morning when I'm "back" to work.


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:45
English to German
Just ignore it - it's up to you May 9, 2009

Hi Phillippa,

Surely I can understand you. After working a whole week one has to have a break
from work in order to charge one's batteries.

I think it is rather unusual that an agency calls anyone at this hour on a Friday
evening, I would have thought they work regular office hours themselves.

However, there actually might have been an urgent order coming in at this agency at
such a late hour. Perhaps there is someone at this agency still working into the
evening and trying to help one of their regular customer's out of an "emergency".

In my opinion it's just up to you to stipulate fixed working hours for yourself, if
you feel the need after a hard week. That's your good right. Then, why don't you just
ignore it, shut off your mobile phone or set the "Out of office reply" in your Outlook? You also could inform your "regular" clients about your regular office/working hours.

I myself am available at all hours and only ignore calls or emails, if I have special
plans for the weekend, so I have no time for doing some extra work. When I'm free, I don't make a difference between weekdays and weekend, but that's my personal decision. It's some kind of "extra-service" I provide for my customers.

So, it's not a matter to get heated up about - it's up to everyone himself to set up regular working hours or not.

Have a nice weekend, though.

Annett


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:45
English to German
+ ...
...and the problem is? May 9, 2009

Phillippa Bennett wrote:

Happy Saturday to everyone first of all....

...to my horror I found that a *certain* agency (I'd never worked for them before) had had the cheek to ring me on a Friday evening after 9pm about an *urgent* project and according to the email they wanted me to contact them asap.


It's a normal thing and perhaps you missed a unique opportunity. By the way, you are running a business, aren't you?

Has anyone else had this problem at all?

A problem? Not at all! It's a question of mindset.

Is there any way of imposing limits, saying these are my working hours?!

Of course, communicate!

I really felt like *my* time was being invaded. I'm beginning to think that I may have to have two mobile phones - one for work and one for private calls.

Brilliant idea

I hasten to add I WILL NOT be working for this agency....

Why?

Enjoy the weekend!
Aniello


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:45
Member
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe... May 9, 2009

Most definitely didn't miss out... as it's an agency with a history of poor payment etc.

But thanks for the words of advice.

To be honest - the day of the week doesn't really matter - as I too have been known to work at the weekend - it was more the time of day that got to me last night!

Thanks though for *listening* and the useful comments.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 12:45
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
The important of building relationships May 9, 2009

Annett Hieber wrote:

However, there actually might have been an urgent order coming in at this agency at
such a late hour. Perhaps there is someone at this agency still working into the
evening and trying to help one of their regular customer's out of an "emergency".


Yes, these things do happen, and that's why good business people build reliable relationships with their providers. Perhaps Philippa would have had an entirely different reaction if this call had come from someone she has worked with, someone she trusts and has regular dealings with.

But an unknown agency expecting her to be available ASAP on Friday night? Une autre paire de manches, as we say in French. The fact that a translation agency located in Brazil does not have a good working relationship with a translator in this language pair that they can count on for situations like this says a lot about their practices. And here we learn that the Blue Board rating supports this theory.

I once received a phone call at supper time on Friday for a rush job. The agency's name appeared on my call display and I recognised it instantly for its poor BB rating. I turned the lady down, saying I was too busy, but she sounded very resigned when she accepted my refusal. I had the distinct impression that she was working through a long list of translators and racking up a pile of refusals, due to the reputation of the agency. Perhaps Philippa's case is a similar situation.

Nancy


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:45
Member
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Building business relationships is vital... May 9, 2009

A regular client would be a different matter and dealt with on a case to case basis.

I think maybe my point is I'm not willing to start a business relationship with a company who thinks that it's ok offering me the first piece of work after 9pm at night (the day of the week is of little importance). Were they in another time zone, maybe I'd be more lenient as we all mess up with time zones once in a while especially with Summer/Winter time etc.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 12:45
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Another idea May 9, 2009

The autoreply feature is very good, and in my case the availability calendar on my profile generally seems to be working. You could also record your cellphone voicemail greeting with information on your business hours.

Nancy


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 13:45
Happened to me once May 9, 2009

My phone rang at 6 o’clock in the morning. I was very nervous, because it could be my family in China if something serious had gone wrong. Thank God the call was from a businessman in Taiwan. His offer was even more stupid than his timing: € 100 Euro for a business meeting in Frankfurt. I live almost 500 km away from Frankfurt…

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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's a matter of how you position your business May 9, 2009

I don't think it's "unsocial" at all because we are not talking about friends but about business.

I have the mobile numbers from our house doctor, child-doctor and vet. We can call them any time day or night if an emergency happens.

They charge their services accordingly with premium charges for night calls.

If you want to offer "emergency" services, make sure you charge accordingly.

If you don't want to offer these services, just activate your mail voice systems in your mobile and land numbers.

If a customer calls after your working hours, they should get a voice message saying when they can call again to reach you.

Don't use your home number or your family mobile telephone for business purposes.

Daniel


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ilokle
Italian to English
+ ...
2 different cell phone numbers May 9, 2009

I did have, for several years, 2 different cell phones: one was my personal number, one my business number. I never regretted the small inconvenience of having to carry 2 phones around, nor the modestly higher monthly charge. When I was not available for job-related communications, my business number went into voice mail. I don't know if this solution would be agreeable to all, but it worked great for me.

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Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:45
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Auto-reply and spam? May 9, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I use my email's auto-reply feature when I'm not "at work" during usual working hours. If you find you are getting a lot of this kind of request, then perhaps you could set it over the weekend as well? Then any new contacts will know you will not be in touch until Monday, or whenever.


Slightly off-topic, but I really wonder: doesn't that increase the amount of spam you get, because you also reply to spam messages and so confirm that your address is valid?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Did they phone you at home or at work? May 9, 2009

Phillippa Bennett wrote:
By chance I then checked my email and to my horror I found that a *certain* agency (I'd never worked for them before) had had the cheek to ring me on a Friday evening after 9pm about an *urgent* project and according to the email they wanted me to contact them asap.


You have deliberately mixed your business and personal life, and now you're complaining that some people want to do business with you during your personal time. If you want to separate your business and personal life, make sure you separate it well. Don't give out your personal phone number or publish it in places where it might be construed or mistaken for a business contact number.

One of the advantages of working with freelancers is that they don't keep regular business hours. If you yourself want to keep regular business hours, then make sure you are unavailable during other hours.

If you required some service late at night, you could either try to get hold of a business and hope that they them might answer, or you can throw in the towel before you even started and wait for Monday. This particular client opted for calling your business in the hope that you may answer. It is not their fault that your business contact number is also your personal contact number, or that you chose to answer your business phone during your personal hours.

[Edited at 2009-05-09 22:14 GMT]


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