Why You Shouldn’t Check Emails Outside of Work Hours
Rapid developments in technology over the last decade have meant that workers now have unparalleled access to their email accounts – all it takes is a few taps on a smartphone screen and employees can keep tabs on their clients, their duties and anything that their boss might want to communicate with them.
But a brand new study from Germany has discovered that checking your work emails outside of work is actually bad for your health. The report revealed that working outside of scheduled hours doesn’t allow employees to sufficiently detach themselves from work, leaving them feeling more tired and less relaxed in their home life. Out-of-office email checking has also been linked to higher level of the stress hormone cortisol in the morning.
For remote workers, this poses a particular problem. In the absence of an office or a supervisor, many need to use their smartphones to clock in and out of work, as well as keeping on top of the latest updates from their supervisors. Remote workers that need to use personal devices as part of their work can find it hard to separate their home life and work life, which can lead to increased feelings of stress that are hard to shift, even when work is over.
Of course, the idea that still being ‘switched on’ after work is bad for the health is not a new phenomenon. In France last year, a new deal was signed between employer federations and unions, which stated that employees were required to switch off work phones from 6pm onwards, and firms were not allowed to pressure staff to check their messages outside of regular working hours. It’s thought that this move will help more employees to create distinct boundaries between their home and work lives, to ensure that they’re happier and more productive in each.
So how can businesses with remote workers combat this 24/7 work culture and help support their staff? Try imposing some rules similar to those brought in throughout France – ensure that supervisors know that their team are not expected to read or reply to messages outside of working hours. Alternatively, invest in a range of mobile devices that employees can use specifically for work – if employees don’t have access to email on their personal devices, they may be less likely to check their inbox out-of-hours.