It’s not just the bundle of e-mails that gives a person stress, but his intentional habit of going through the inbox and need to feel in control harms his health, claims a recent study.
During the study, the researchers asked nearly 2,000 working people across a variety of industries, sectors and job roles in the UK about their experience of using e-mail.
The research explored whether factors such as technology, behaviour, demographics and personality played a role in people’s perception of email pressure.
The research suggested that many people have developed some bad habits when it comes to managing e-mail. Nearly half of those surveyed have e-mails automatically sent to their inbox and 62 percent left their e-mail on all day.
Those who checked e-mail early in the morning and late at night may think they are getting ahead, but they could be making things worse, as the study showed that these habits were linked to higher levels of stress and pressure.
Dr. Richard MacKinnon said their research shows that e-mail is a double-edged sword. Whilst it can be a valuable communication tool, it’s clear that it’s a source of stress of frustration for many of us. The people, who reported it being most useful to them, also reported the highest levels of e-mail pressure.
He added that the habits which people develop, the emotional reactions they have to messages and the unwritten organisational etiquette around e-mail combine into a toxic source of stress that could be negatively impacting our productivity and well-being.
The research is presented in the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference.