While work is almost always a hassle, being ‘on-call’ virtually all the time via email adds on as a ‘toxic source of stress’, warns psychologists.
According to researchers, our culture has developed – thanks to email or texts – where people feel they are constantly available for work. And with that sense of work comes all the repercussions of stress attached with it. This ‘unwritten organizational etiquette’ has become ingrained in the workplace, and employees have developed habits which negatively impact their emotional well-being.
Studies have found that continuously checking and reading emails due to instant notifications induces tension and worry from the job. So experts are beginning to advise turning off the push notifications on phones which would alleviate stress in and out of the office.
“You may want to consider launching your email application when you want to use email and closing it down for periods when you don’t wish to be interrupted by incoming emails,” said a report from the London-based Future Work Centre, which conducts psychological research on people’s workplace experiences.
“In other words, use email when you intend to, not just because it’s always running in the background.”
The surveyed roughly 2,000 working people across the UK, and found leaving email on all day, or checking your email early in the morning or at night, were the leading stress causers. Higher email pressure was associated with more examples of work having a negative effect on home life, too.
“Our research shows that email is a double-edged sword. Whilst it can be a valuable communication tool, it’s clear that it’s a source of stress of frustration for many of us,” says lead author Dr. Richard MacKinnon.
“The people who reported it being most useful to them also reported the highest levels of email pressure. But the habits we develop, the emotional reactions we have to messages and the unwritten organizational etiquette around email, combine into a toxic source of stress which could be negatively impacting our productivity and well-being.”
The study found people working in IT, marketing, public relations, the internet and media were most affected by email stress. More than 30 per cent of this group received more than 50 emails a day.