Is it THAT urgent?! Staff admit to checking emails on the loo

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Employers and managers need to ensure this relentless email-checking culture, even during toilet breaks, doesn’t become the norm.

New research from Mind makes for uncomfortable reading – the mental health charity has found that more than 1 in 7 of us (15 percent) who receive work emails sometimes check them while in the toilet. An online YouGov poll of 1,095 English and Welsh workers also showed that nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) of those who receive work emails admitted that they often checked them outside of work.

The poll data also revealed that only half of respondents (50 percent) said that their manager respects that they have a life outside work. These findings are indicative of a culture of working round-the-clock, leaving many of us unable to switch off and achieve a healthy work/life balance. Mind is urging employees to leave their work at work, and encouraging managers to set a good example by not sending work emails outside of their usual work hours, wherever possible.

As well as having our personal lives interrupted, this relentless email-checking culture is making it difficult to switch off when we should be preparing for sleep. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) of those who receive work emails said that they sometimes check them before they go to sleep, while almost 1 in 5 (19 percent) sometimes check them before they’ve even got out of bed in the morning.

“Despite our busy lives, modern technology means that many workers are now contactable around the clock. While many staff have to work outside their normal working hours from time to time, we all need a break from work to unwind and de-stress,” said Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, “Checking our emails outside work makes it difficult to maintain boundaries between our jobs and personal lives. It’s not acceptable for staff to be expected to send and receive work emails at all hours. Employers and managers need to ensure this relentless email-checking culture doesn’t become the norm.

“Encouraging a clear work/life balance is just one thing employers need to do to create a mentally healthy workplace. Staff are happier, healthier, and more likely to be loyal and productive if their workplace proactively promotes mental wellbeing. Employers can promote good wellbeing by encouraging staff to leave work at work so they can come back refreshed and rejuvenated.”

Mind’s website has a range of free resources available for both employers and staff with tips on tackling the causes of stress and poor mental health at work. For more information on training services on stress management and mental health awareness, click here.

The Symposium annual Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum will be held on November 26 in London.

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