Study: You Don't Have To Open Work Emails At Home To Feel Stress

The mere idea that work will continue at home via email can strain relationships, study says. 

A new study says it is unhealthy to even think about opening work emails at home.

The mere expectation of work contact can increase the strain on employees and their spouses, writes William Becker, associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and co-author of the study, “Killing me softly: electronic communications monitoring and employee and significant-other well-being.

Becker argues that “'flexible work boundaries' often turn into 'work without boundaries,' compromising an employee's and their family's health and well-being."

He adds that the "the insidious impact of 'always on' organizational culture is often unaccounted for or disguised as a benefit -- increased convenience, for example, or higher autonomy and control over work-life boundaries."

It’s not clear what this means for email marketing. But B2B brands should probably limit their emails to working hours to avoid being associated with at-home stress. 

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There are also lessons for both employees and employers. 

“Organizations may perceive that after hours email/connectivity benefits them because they get more productivity out of employees but our study suggests that they will face long-term costs in employee burnout/turnover, absenteeism, and health costs,” Becker notes.

As for workers, he notes that today’s employees must "navigate more complex boundaries between work and family than ever before.”

Employer expectations “increase this burden, as employees feel an obligation to shift roles throughout their nonwork time.” However, these demands also affect employees’ families. 

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