Do your email habits impact your psychological health?
ISLAMABAD: A recent questionnaire, designed and analyzed by the Future Work Centre, gives an insight into how the way we manage our emails might negatively impact our lives.
A recent study shows that email pressure can substantially impact on psychological health.
As technology has advanced over recent years, one mode of communication has raced to the fore: email.
Whether you are an architect, archaeologist or accountant, your inbox will be where you spend a substantial amount of time.
When the first electronic mails were sent in the 1970s, people would have scarcely believed that in just a few decades we would all be checking them from handheld devices in our pockets.
The Future Work Centre’s agenda for 2015/16 is to investigate the impact of technology at work from a psychological perspective. This investigation, centered around emails, is just one part of their data mining mission.
Although email is an incredibly useful tool, as the researchers state, it is a “double-edged sword.” As the volume of emails goes up, so can stress levels. Emails can disrupt you from more pressing tasks, interrupt your train of thought or, even worse, impact your home life.
The Future Work Centre set out to unearth differences in individual approaches to email management and how they can affect stress levels, work-life balance and general happiness.
The group’s questionnaire was sent to almost 2,000 working individuals across the UK within a variety of sectors. They asked questions relating to technology, behavior, demographics and personality.
Dr. Richard MacKinnon, of the Future Work Centre, says:
“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 or frustration for many of us. 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 results are to be presented on Thursday, January 7, 2016, at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference.
The headline findings are as follows:
* “Push” email: people who used “push” notifications had an increased perception of email pressure
* 24 Hours: those who left their emails running all day long also reported more email pressure
* When to check: individuals who checked their emails first thing in the morning and last thing at night were more likely to perceive email pressure