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Technology may have enabled people to access their emails with just a tap on their phones, this has, in turn, developed a culture where people must feel they are constantly available for work.
A report from the London-based Future Work Centre, which conducts psychological research on people’s workplace experiences, said emails were a “double-edged sword” that provided a useful means of communication but could also be a source of stress.
The report found that managers, especially, experience significantly higher levels of email pressure when compared to non-managers.
People who automatically received email on their devices were more likely to report higher levels of email pressure and those who leave their email on all day were much more likely to say that they experienced email pressure.
Checking email earlier in the morning or later at night is associated with higher levels of email pressure.
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To beat the email stress, psychologists’ advice is switching off the ‘Mail’ app on your mobile phone will alleviate anxiety both in and out of the office.
Lead author of the report Dr Richard MacKinnon explained that continuously checking and reading emails due to a ‘push notification’ feature which alerts users to new messages even when they are not in their Mail app, prompts signs of tension and worry.
“Seize control of your email instead of being ruled by it. 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 In other words, use email when you intend to, not just because it’s always running in the background,” he said.
Other suggestions to reduce email stress is setting “Out Of Office” replies more frequently and resigning to the fact that, if a matter is urgent, employers will attempt to make contact with a phone call.
Email pressure was highest among younger people and steadily decreased with age, according to the findings presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual meeting in Nottingham, the Telegraph reports.
Those working in IT, marketing, public relations, the internet and media were most affected by email stress.
More than 30% of this group received more than 50 emails a day and more than 65% allowed their devices to update emails round the clock.
“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 organisational etiquette around email, combine into a toxic source of stress which could be negatively impacting our productivity and wellbeing,” said MacKinnon.
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