Checking Email After Work May Be Bad for Your Health

Aug 21, 2018

A new study found checking work email during nonwork hours may be detrimental to your health.

The report out of Virginia Tech found that when employers expect personnel to monitor work email after hours, the result was increased employee anxiety, which affected not only the worker themselves, but their families as well.

The study found that employees don’t actually need to spend time on work in their off hours to experience harmful effects – just the expectation of availability was enough to increase strain for employees and their significant other.

Virginia Tech researcher William Becker said that electronic communications have resulted in an always on culture and that flexible work boundaries often turns into “work without boundaries.”

Becker said ideally, employers would institute policies that don’t require employees to check messages outside of work hours. When that’s not possible, he suggests employees try practicing mindfulness to both reduce stress and help them be fully present when interacting with family.

The study was presented earlier this month at the Academy of Management annual meeting.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.