Checking Email After Work Poisons Your Personal Life, Says Study

man checking email smartphone

Trending News: Constantly jumping on email after work damages your personal relationships.  

SHORT STORY

A new study confirms people who are constantly plugged into work after hours do real harm to their health and relationships.

LONG STORY

Do you regularly check work email at night? On weekends, do you tap on messages to see if the boss wrote? Is it fair to say you have an overwhelming need to be connected to the office, fearing you’ll miss something important?

If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone. The hard truth is many people have become electronically tethered to their jobs 24/7, thanks to email.

But are there negative consequences for this behavior? The answer is a resounding yes, according to a new study appearing in the Academy of Management.

Investigators surveyed 142 fulltime employees and their significant others to assess the impact of checking work messages after hours.

What they discovered confirms what many in the mental health community have known for a long time – being constantly linked to the job damages a person’s health and their love life.

smartphone

Curious about the study’s conclusions, Guy Counseling spoke to James Lawyer, a licensed psychotherapist and executive director of Chicago Behavior Consultants.

“The results of the research are not surprising to me in the least. Increasingly, companies have set the expectation that employees need to monitor and respond to email in real time, even during off time.

When you add it all up, it means people are living in a suspended state of anxiety and neglecting important life areas, such as self-care and (undistracted) time with loved ones.”

Lawyer goes on to add: “I can’t tell you how many relationships I’ve seen ruined because of this issue. When someone crawls into bed with their partner and brings their smartphone with them, it’s like inviting the boss to join in.”

So, is there anything that can be done about this issue? According to the study’s recommendations, employers need to do a better job of setting expectations around electronic communication.

“Organizations could set off-hour email windows and limit use of electronic communications outside of those windows or set up email schedules when various employees are available to respond,” said Liuba Belkin, an associate professor of management at Lehigh University and coauthor of the study.

In addition, Belkin suggests employees should create awareness around electronic work-related interactions through mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is a practice within the control of the employee even if email expectations are not (i.e., those are enforced by their organization or their manager,” said Belkin.

Hot Topic

How often do you jump on email after work hours? Has it interfered in the quality of your life, including your relationships?

If so, what are you doing to set up healthy boundaries?

About John D. Moore 342 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast