If you’re like me, you routinely answer work-related emails once you are home for the evening.
However, doing so may be detrimenal to your health.
A new study, authored by Liuba Belkin of Lehigh University, William Becker of Virginia Tech, and Samantha A. Conroy of Colorado State University, found a link between organizational after-hours email expectations and emotional exhaustion, which hinders work-family balance.
The authors looked at “off” hour emailing and found that it negatively impacts employee emotional states, leading to “burnout” and diminished work-family balance, which is essential for individual health and well-being.
Previous research has shown that in order to restore resources used during the day at work, employees must be able to detach both mentally and physically from work.
They also found that it is not the amount of time spent on work emails, but the expectation which drives the resulting sense of exhaustion.
The study also notes that checking email at home does not even have to be required by the company. If checking your email after hours is simply part of the corporate culture, then most employees will engage in such behavior.
So if checking email after work hours is so bad for you, what can an employer do to help such a situation?
The authors suggest having a weekly no email day or setting up a rotational program where the emails. A second option is to rotate the nightly email responsibility around different members of the staff.
Such policies may help reduce employee pressure to reply to emails after-hours and relieve the exhaustion from stress. In addition, each student served as a signal of organizational caring and support, potentially increasing trust in management, work identification, job commitment and extra-role behaviors.”
So there you have it; if you want to reduce the level of stress in your life and have a better work-life balance, once you get home from work for the day, don’t check your mail.