Why checking your emails after work is hurting your relationship

Why checking your emails after work is hurting your relationship

Checking emails outside of working hours could hurt romantic relationships and damage your mental health, a new study has found.

The survey was carried out on full-time workers aged between 31 and 40. Workforce Emotions Expert, William Becker, found that “the employees themselves seem largely unaware of the impact this has on their significant others”.

Despite this, off-duty email checkers felt that their uncontrollable urge to check work messages did not affect their closest personal relationships.

The Virginia Tech researcher tells the Guardian: “They don’t see it as a problem, but their spouses say it really affects the relationship.”

In addition to analysing the effects on personal relationships, the study also measured the impact of working off-duty on an employee’s mental health.

Using research from Lehigh and Colorado State Universities, Becker found that employees felt under pressure to check work messages outside of work, which led to increased stress and anxiety among employees.

The full report will be presented at an annual meeting of the Academy of Management in Chicago.

It concludes that 24-hour connectivity “may be at least partly to blame for the national epidemic of stress and anxiety”.

Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Alliance Manchester Business School has expressed concerns about employees not taking a break from work duties. He says exclusively to HR Grapevine that the problem began with the launch of the smartphone because of the ability to contact people 24/7; it leaves little separation between professional and personal life.

“Do a digital detox by absolutely not accessing your emails whilst on holiday, in the long run it will damage your health – even worse than that, it will damage your family life”.

In 2017, research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) found that 40% of people remotely check and access work emails at least five times a day outside of working hours.

It is possible that this has been spurred on by increasing numbers of people who can work flexibly from home. A fifth said that they felt under constant surveillance while 17% said that it makes them feel anxious or deprives them of sleep.

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In 2015, a German study recruited a sample of 132 workers to analyse the effects of extended off-duty working and how it influenced people’s moods the next day, the NHS reports.

The study concluded that consistently working outside normal hours limits the sense of detachment, resulting in increased tiredness and leaves employees feeling less content and relaxed the next day. Also, it was linked to higher morning levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In response to the result of the study, Becker has called on bosses to initiate a 7pm cut-off time for replying to work emails. “If we don’t address this, it will only get worse and people will start to burn out, leave organisations, and have a lot more relationship problems,” he said.

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Comments (1)

  • VeniVidiVici
    Mon, 20 Aug 2018 4:29pm BST
    Oh............. you mean WORK emails!

    Silly me........

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