Are you obsessed with checking email?
You could be damaging your mental health and that of their colleagues too, according to Kingston University occupational psychologist Dr. Emma Russell.
Russell says she has identified 7 deadly email sins that can lead to 'negative repercussions' if not handled correctly. Some of the worst habits include 'ping pong' messages back and forth and 'read receipts', which accompany every missive sent, the study, looking into which email practices stress employees out, found.
Russell analyzed 28 email users across different companies to see which habits had positive and negative influences on their working lives. She these 7 habits which can be positive if used in moderation but are likely to have a negative impact if not handled correctly:
1. Ping pong - constant emails back and forth creating long chains
2. Emailing out of hours
3. Emailing while in company
4. Ignoring emails completely
5. Requesting read receipts
6. Responding immediately to an email alert
7. Automated replies
Responding to out of hours emails, for instance, may make an employee look keen but it can also mean workers find it difficult to switch off, according to presentation. “This puts pressure on staff to be permanently on call and makes those they are dealing with feel the need to respond,” Russell explained. “Some workers became so obsessed by email that they even reported experiencing so-called ‘phantom alerts’ where they think their phone has vibrated or bleeped with an incoming email when in fact it has not. Others said they felt they needed to physically hold their smartphone when they were not at their desk so that they were in constant email contact.”
Email ping pong, where messages are responded to immediately by both sides until a very long chain builds up, are particularly hated by many of those involved.
"This research reminds us that even though we think we are using strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of them can be detrimental to other goals and the people that we work with," Russell said.
Some create a problem for the sender rather than the receiver, she said, as they can lead to them giving out the wrong impression or not remaining in control of what they are doing. For example having email alerts switched on and responding to email immediately can have positive benefits if one wants to show concern to the person who has emailed them.
However, it may have negative repercussions in terms of the sender feeling that responding to emails is taking them away from other tasks and impacting on their sense of well-being.
“Back in the dial-up era, when going online had a cost implication, most people checked email maybe once a day and often responded to mails as soon as they read them. Now with broadband and 3G, unlimited numbers of messages can be streamed to you via your smartphone at any time of the day or night. However many of us haven’t adapted our behavior to what can seem like a constant stream of mails,” says Russell.
Presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Sexual Fantasies: Threesomes Are Normal, Golden Showers Not So Much
- The Vampire Deer Of Afghanistan
- Resveratrol Reverses Benefits Of Exercise - Study
- Okay With Disgusting Images? You Vote This Way 95 Percent Of The Time
- Aging Brains Aren't Necessarily Declining Brains
- Cui Bono? B-corporations And The University
- The Ghosts Of The First Neolithic People In A Paleo World
- "It's vital to understand that while crapping where you eat is not linked to having conservative..."
- "16 people who were originally doing less than 30 minutes exercise a day then did how much low volume..."
- "Trouble is without citations this article reads like a slew of anecdotes. It begins promisingly..."
- "Do you work for Hank? Or do you just parrot his line of bullshit, and try to legitimize it with..."
- Two-faced anti-GMO groups: Block crop and food innovations then claim Big Ag prevents GMO innovations
- Why support erodes for GMO labeling (Hint: It’s not because of spending by Big Ag)
- Genetic “hall of mirrors” with large palindromes, yet smaller: What’s mighty about the mouse
- Gut bacteria an easy scapegoat for disease, but connections hard to prove
- Vermont Rube Goldberg-like GMO labeling law exempts GMO filled natural supplements
- Downside to GMOs: Yields have become so good, they exceed processing capacity
- More penalties on the way for hospitals that treat the poor? New U-M study suggests so
- Cancer cell fingerprints in the blood may speed up childhood cancer diagnosis
- Study of Chile earthquake finds new rock structure that affects earthquake rupture
- Tracking a gigantic sunspot across the Sun
- Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life
Books By Writers Here