Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

New study reveals that answering emails after work is bad for your health

emails after hours.jpg

There’s nothing worse than having an inbox filled with ‘urgent’ emails at the end of the working day; in fact, it’s one of the main reasons so many of us stay in the office after-hours – or, at the very least, log into our emails from home to tackle them after dinner.

However experts have now revealed that there is a very good reason to shut down your computers at the end of the day, as a new study has confirmed that answering after-work emails is bad for your health.

Using data collected from 297 working adults, Liuba Belkin and her researchers at Colorado State University, Virginia Tech, and Lehigh University discovered that there is a link between after-hours emails and emotional exhaustion, which leads to “burnout” and diminished work-life balance, which is essential for our individual health and wellbeing.

And it’s not just receiving the emails which are stressing us out, either; it’s the anticipation of receiving them, too.

That’s right; just knowing that a work-related email could be on its way “contributes to emotional exhaustion”.

They said: “Email is notoriously known to be the impediment of the recovery process. Its accessibility contributes to experience of work overload since it allows employees to engage in work as if they never left the workspace, and at the same time, inhibits their ability to psychologically detach from work-related issues via continuous connectivity.”

Woman stressed at her computer

Failing to switch off after work could be bad for your health

Researchers went on to explain that, in order to restore ourselves after the working day, we must allow ourselves the time to detach both physically and mentally from work – which is why it’s so crucial that we a) leave on time, b) take our full lunch hours, and c) step away from that email inbox after-hours.

“Satisfaction with the balance between work and family domains is important for individual health and well-being, while individual inability to successfully balance roles in those domains can lead to anxiety and depression, lowered satisfaction with both work and family roles, absenteeism, decreased job productivity and organizational commitment and greater turnover.”

“As prior research has shown, if people cannot disconnect from work and recuperate, it leads to burnout, higher turnover, more deviant behaviour, lower productivity, and other undesirable outcomes,” said Belkin.

The research has caused us to become even more envious of the Scandinavian lifestyle (as if we needed another reason).

Danish women laughing in coffee shop

The Scandinavian approach to work-life balance has been hailed as one of the best in the world

With a typical working day of 8am to 4pm, Denmark has the best work life balance in the world.

Even better? Staying late to attempt a little unpaid overtime is more likely to earn you a lecture on inefficiency than a pat on the back from your boss.

We recommend making it your mission to make leaving work on time the rule, not the exception – and to ditch the late night email checks, too.

This won’t just boost your mood and health levels, it’ll also help you to power through and get more things done throughout the day – helping you to become more efficient as a result.

Related

desk-walking-sitting-health-risks.jpg

Spend all day sitting down? You’re more likely to die early

iStock_57496192_LARGE.jpg

These are the world’s best cities to live in for quality of life

iStock_000063560081_Medium.jpg

Is freelancing the key to a better work/life balance?

baby-boomers-1970s-women.JPG

Why millennial women should be happy – according to baby boomers

iStock_000092485103_Medium.jpg

Is the idea of work-life balance redundant if you love your job?

iStock_88670839_MEDIUM.jpg

Why we can all benefit from more flexible working

opener.jpg

Do French women have the perfect work-life balance?

iStock_000044256482_Medium.jpg

What the stay-late office culture is really doing to your health

Comments

More

Everything you need to know about alkaline hydrolysis

It's an eco-friendly alternative to burials

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017

How to chill a bottle of white wine in less than 3 minutes

Because who has time to wait for wine?

by Kayleigh Dray
22 May 2017

Bride’s wedding shoot with male bridesmaids goes viral

This computer engineer's bro-maids are basically awesome

by Amy Swales
22 May 2017

This is how you decide what to eat for lunch

Salad or sandwich?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017

How to tell if your friendship is failing - and how to fix it

These are the warning signs to look out for

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017

This is an avocado filled with coffee because the avolatte is upon us

That's a latte. Inside an avocado, yes.

by Amy Swales
22 May 2017

Badass woman schools male co-worker over sexist promotion text

“You’d be a lot more successful as a secretary”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 May 2017

A Mamma Mia sequel is on its way – complete with the original cast

Mamma Mia, here we go again

by Moya Crockett
22 May 2017

The reason this First Dates clip is racking up millions of vies

This widower’s first date has taught us all an important lesson about grief

by Kayleigh Dray
22 May 2017

Why do people marry themselves? The rise of the sologamist wedding

Who needs The One when it's you?

by Amy Swales
19 May 2017