The feeling of needing to respond to work emails immediately stresses people out.
This is why, for the most part, I save most of my work emails that need a response for the end or middle of the day — just before I typically break for lunch.
And, as research shows, this is a pretty good strategy. According to a study set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, workers exhibiting high levels of "telepressure" — the feeling that we need to respond to work communication immediately — were more likely to agree with statements like “I have no energy for going to work in the morning” and “I feel like my batteries are dead."
The study was first written about in The Wall Street Journal last week. Read more here.
But wait — there's more. According to the study, employees obsessed with responding to work communication had poorer sleep quality and were more likely to miss work for health reasons. Yikes.
Work communication — specifically, email — can quickly overtake our lives. As the Journal story points out, workers often feel pressure to keep an eye on their inbox in case an email from a boss or important co-worker needing something comes across the screen.
The lesson we can also glean from this: Work email, while important, should not overtake our ability to do our work to the point where it is stressing us out outside of work. If you're the type to constantly be on the lookout for email, or someone who responds to things immediately, take a breather — that email isn't going anywhere.
What do you think? Is feeling the need to respond to work email and other communication too much? Or is it simply a reality of our work lives that we're going to have to suck it up and live with?