Turn off automatic email updates to ease stress, psychologists advise

People who leave their email on all day are more likely to feel pressure

Turning off automatic email updates on mobiles and laptops will help reduce stress levels, a new study has found.

Psychologists at the London-based Future Work Centre have released a report exploring how “email pressure” affects one’s work-life balance.

According to the researchers, emails are a “double-edged sword” that were a useful means of communication but can also be a source of stress.

The two most stressful habits were leaving email alerts on all day, and checking emails very early in the morning or late at night.

To combat stress, the researchers recommend only launching the email application when you intend to use email, and closing it for periods in between.

The research also found a correlation between “email checking times (early morning and late at night) and perceptions of email pressure”.

“It would be inappropriate of us to instruct people to stop checking their email at a time that suits them,” said the study.

“But consider how useful you feel it is to begin your working day so early or end it so late. It’s also worth considering the potential impact your very early or very late emails have on your colleagues.”

Almost 2,000 working people were surveyed as part of the research across a range of industries and occupations in the UK.

People who experienced higher email pressure found it impacted their life at home negatively, the study found.

It also found that younger people were more likely to experience email pressure, but this declines steadily with age.

The type of job you have also affects the amount of email pressure you feel. The findings revealed that managers experience “significantly higher levels of perceived email pressure” when compared to those in non-managerial positions.

In 2014, there were 2.5 billion email users worldwide, and adults spent an average of over an hour of each day on emails, according to Radicati and Ofcom.

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