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How after work emails are ruining your health

How after work emails are ruining your health

Trevor 3 comments

Although emails have facilitated communications by not requiring all parties to be present in the same office or time zone, they do have a flip side: you are always reachable whether or not you’re at work.

52% of Americans check their email before and after work, even when they take a sick day.

Nearly 50% of Australians check their email when not at work, and for those that turn on their phone in the morning, 70% of them check their emails first.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) school of psychology study coined this concept as ‘telepressure’ and the research explores the results of ‘never switching off’. What they found was that people who engaged in telepressure were at greater risk of burnout, absenteeism and poor sleep quality.

“It’s like your to-do list is piling up, so you’re cognitively ruminating over these things in the evening and re-exposing yourself to workplace stressors,” lead author Larissa Barber explained. “When people don’t have this recovery time, it switches them into an exhaustion state, so they go to work the next day not being engaged,”

What’s interesting about Barber’s results is that telepressure is a workplace problem, not a worker problem. There seems to be weak correlations between the type of worker and the effects of telepressure. It doesn’t matter if you’re a type-A overachievers or a laid back type, telepressure still affects them.

Do you telepressure?

“We all get kind of used to that immediate gratification of getting fast responses and having those communications that are complete,” Barber says. “We all like it when other people are telepressured, because it helps us complete our tasks faster.”

person writing emails

Managing telepressure

Barber suggests thinking about where the telepressure is coming from and strongly considering having a conversation with your supervisor about email expectations; and if you’re the boss, be a good role model.

Another suggestion is laying out clear messages and expectations in your emails. If you are emailing back and forth about a casual get together, the pressure to quickly answer is present because it would be rude, not to. But, if you are explicit in your email by including things like “No need to respond to this message” or “I look forward to hearing from you between 8:30-11:30am tomorrow” you take the pressure off email.

An earlier version of this article credited the research to the University of Illinois instead of Northern Illinois University. 

Sources: Time, The Sydney Morning Herald, APA Center for Organizational Excellence,

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3 Comments

Trevor

November 12, 2014 at 9:35 am

Definitely true! Everyone needs to be conscious of this espeically responding to emails outside of working hours. It makes those receiving them feel pressured to respond.

Trevor

November 23, 2014 at 11:34 am

Hello, just wanted to mention, I liked this post.
It was helpful. Keep on posting!

Trevor

November 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform?
I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get
started and set up my own. Do you need any coding expertise to make your own blog?
Any help would be really appreciated!

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