The way you manage your emails affects you much more than you think, suggests a research conducted by the Future Work Centre.
In a bid to understanding how technology use at work affects our psychological health, Future Work Centre set out to determine how a group of around 2,000 individuals from the UK would approach email management differently and how this could in turn affect stress levels, the balance between work and life, and general balance. The team thus found that how we manage our inbox can affect us adversely.
Dr. Richard MacKinnon from the Future Work Centre explains that email is a “double-edged sword” that is both useful and a “source of stress”. He also mentions frustration as yet another feeling email management causes.
As a matter of fact, participants reporting email being the most useful to them were also the ones facing the highest levels of email pressure; those who had their emails running all day would claim to have more email pressure; those checking their emails as their first deed in the morning and the last one at night had a greater risk of perceiving email pressure.
Dr McKinnon says that our habits, and emotional reactions pertaining to emails constitute a “toxic source of stress” that is detrimental to both our productivity and well-being.
The authors have, therefore, come up with some guidelines to limit the pressure, and stress level caused by emails. For instance, they recommend individuals to only check their email when needed and to, otherwise, turn it off; push notifications can be deactivated. Those who find the stress following them home should check their emails during working hours only. Also, those receiving a large amount of emails might want to consider sending less themselves.
The researchers also add that their study is but a preliminary one and that more research should be done.