It’s a habit most young professionals are guilty of.
You’re done for the day, settled on the couch, and ready to kick back with a glass of wine and your favourite Netflix show. And that’s when you get it: the dreaded after-hours work email.
Do you answer it? Read it and mark it unread so you can deal with it in the morning? Maybe you ignore it completely. Well, a new study suggests that option C may be the way to go.
Researchers from Colorado State, Virginia Tech, and Lehigh University studied the effects of this oh-so-common situation.
They analyzed data from surveys completed by 385 professionals in a wide range of fields. They were asked about how much time they spend on email outside of normal work hours, as well as topics like emotional exhaustion, work-family balance, and their ability to mentally separate themselves from work during their time off.
Not surprisingly, the results showed that organizational expectations about checking email after work correlated with negative emotional states in employees.
Just anticipating getting an email after work led to people feeling stressed, anxious, and exhausted over their inability to “turn off.”
However, they also found that certain types of people are more impacted by emails than others. For instance, if you’re somebody who is okay with blending work and home time, then getting an email post-5 p.m. is probably not that big of a deal for you.
That being said, even if you think your workaholic tendencies make you more productive, it could put you on the fast track to burning out. So put down the iPhone and pick up that TV remote.
Trust us, that email will still be there in the morning.