Those who were expected (or felt the pressure) to respond to emails out of hours, effectively meaning they were ‘on the clock’ 24/7, reported higher levels of anxiety and dissatisfaction.
“..organizational expectations trigger frequent employee micro-transitions during nonwork [sic] time, eliciting negative affect and leading to decreases in well-being,” states the research.
Interestingly, negative impacts were not solely experienced by the workers themselves. The partners of the 142 subjects were also surveyed, with researchers finding that out-of-hours emailing also had a flow on effect, negatively impacting on their relationships.
With the added pressure from work now extending into the personal life of employees, the researchers behind the study have offered some sound advice to both companies and their workers. “Organizations could set off-hour email windows and limit use of electronic communications outside of those windows, or set up email schedules when various employees are available to respond,” advises Liuba Belkin, an associate professor of management at Lehigh University and one of the study’s co-authors, when talking to TIME.
“Even though employees cannot control email expectations, mindfulness is a practice within the control of the employee,” she added.