Checking email outside work hours is a tempting pitfall, especially when there is a crisis in the office, but new evidence suggests that it is far from good for your wellbeing.
While personality type affects the degree to which pressure is felt, organisations are being urged to put policies in place to stop employees letting work overspill into home life.
The recommendations are from a report by Future Work Centre, entitled ‘You’ve got mail!’, which questioned 2000 people across a variety of industries and job roles.
Dr Richard MacKinnon, insight director at the Future Work Centre, said: “The habits we develop, the emotional reactions we have to messages and the unwritten organisational etiquette around email, combine into a toxic source of stress which could be negatively impacting our productivity and wellbeing.”
“If a manager sends an email at night to a subordinate or colleague then the message is that we expect you to be available 24/7. The alternative is to close the server down at the weekend and in the evening and there are companies that are doing that,” CIPD president professor Cary Cooper said.
Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they leave their emails on all day. Younger people were most likely to leave their email on all day (80 percent of 15 to 24 year olds) than older people (50 per cent of those aged 55 and over).
Email pressure was found to be highest in IT and marketing, PR, media and internet sectors. Of this group, 30 percent received more than 50 emails a day and more than 65 percent said their email was always active.
The study also found checking email before work and at night was associated with higher levels of perceived email pressure, while managers were also found to experience significantly higher levels of perceived email pressure compared to non-managers.