Millennial Email Overload: Study Shows Constant Checking Leads To Stress

They’re not alone in this, but Millennials are nearing email glut. And it may be affecting their health.

A new study from Bupa, a UK healthcare company, shows that millennials check emails: 

  • First thing in the morning
  • Last thing at night
  • On vacation
  • When they’re sick
  • In between

The result: “Email overload amongst under-35s has reached unhealthy levels, with 42% saying they would feel stressed if they were not able to access their emails,” says an article on the study by HR News.

Granted, this syndrome also affects GenXers: 22% say they would be stressed without email. And there are Baby Boomers so obsessed with politics that they check their texts and emails even at 3 a.m.

But it seems to be a particular affliction of millennials, and these UK findings mirror U.S. research. For instance, Adestra found that while Boomers at least wait until they have had coffee in the morning, younger people check their smartphones first. And that includes teens who haven’t even started working in their careers yet.



Worse, Adestra found that people in general overall check their emails:

  • Randomly throughout the day — 82.9%
  • When they are bored — 49.7%
  • At their desk — 37.%
  • In bed — 35.4%
  • At lunch — 29%
  • In the bathroom — 22%

Now isn’t that going too far?

The Bupa study also found that millennials put in 12-hour work days, compared to slightly less for their elders.

Over a fifth fear they would be viewed as uncommitted if they didn’t check their emails at all hours, and a third say their careers would be harmed if they didn’t respond outside of work, HR News reports. Roughly a third check their emails when they are ailing.

All this is bad for a number of reasons. First, there’s the threat to the person’s well-being.

“Down time from work is crucial to maintaining good mental health — as it gives both the mind and body the opportunity to reset and recover,” saysPablo Vandenabeele, clinical director for Mental Health at Bupa UK, according to HR News.  

Vandenabeele adds that the “long-term pressure to respond to work emails at all times can lead to irritability, anxiety, depression and even more physical symptoms like aches, chest pains and stomach issues. Well being should be a cornerstone of any workplace health policy and promoting the importance of switching off from work is a key part of that,” HR News continues. 

Them there’s the impact on work performance itself. “According to one University of Washington Bothell study, when we are distracted from a cognitively challenging task, even briefly, our performance drops — and drops for a while — when we come back to the task,” Rohini Venkatraman writes in Inc. “This is called attention residue. This means that when you look at your Instagram or your email even for a moment, you're doing your work a larger disservice than you may think.”

What’s all this mean to email marketers?

First, it shows that you’re fighting information glut, especially in the B2B space. How can your message stand out when the person is expecting a critical email or an assignment that could lead to an all-nighter from their boss? 

Email glut affects the consumer side, too, because workplace anxieties can divert both young and old from ordering a shirt or a skin toner online, even at home.

Marketing emails can also aggravate a customer, if they’re irrelevant or delivered at the wrong time. The person might just hit the unsubscribe button in a fit of pique.  

So what do you do?

First, determine the customer’s channel preferences.Then liven up your copy and add video, to make the email more fun to read. 

The Adestra study shows that email is the preferred communication channel for 77.8% of millennials. But it could be that social media — and even direct mail — are better in some instances, with email serving as an ancillary tool.

Or you can use email as a means of building out your services into other channels and platforms, as Finimize, a UK startup, seems to be doing.

Finimize realized that millennials lack access to financial advisors — they just don’t have enough money to interest them.  

So the company started an email newsletter for “bite-sized financial news,” Scott Carey writes in TechWorld

But Finimize is doing more than pushing out e-letters.

“The newsletter clearly hit a nerve, as it quickly built up an audience of more than 100,000 people,” Carey adds. “Now (founder Max) Rofagha has launched the next phase, a financial planning platform called Finimize MyLife, which is currently in beta and has a waiting list of more than 24,000 people.

The service is free, but it can lead to a long-term relationship.

A financial tool presents its own worries. But at least the user can look forward to the day when there is no more workpace stress.


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