Emailing Outside of Work Is Bad For You, New Study Says

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Email is an integral part of the business world nowadays. It’s a key way to engage consumers,and build real relationships with them, which can have a huge payoff. Research shows that building loyalty with 5% more customers could lead to an increased average profit per customer of 25-100%. Plus, it lets employees to quickly and effectively communicate with each other, allowing them to get more things done in less time.

However, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that email comes with a cost.

Researchers from Germany asked more than 100 people to complete a daily survey over the course of eight days; half of the subjects were expected to be available for work, while the other half weren’t. While researchers surveyed all participants, they asked half to provide saliva samples so that they could measure their cortisol levels, the hormone released in response to stressful situations.

The study found that those who were supposed to be available had elevated cortisol levels, and reported being more stressed. What’s interesting is that even if it was only through email, those who were expected to be available were still more stressed.

Additionally, those who worked evenings and weekends were more likely to complain of headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.

Is email really that big of a deal? After all, isn’t it easy to just respond to whatever was sent, and get on with the day?

A study from last June says otherwise.

“We looked at the tone of the email and the time it took you to respond to the email,” said Marcus Butts, a professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, who co-wrote a study focusing on email’s emotional effect when received during non-work hours. “When it comes to emails that are negative in tone, it makes you angry. Being angry takes a lot of focus and our resources and it keeps us from being engaged with other things.”

In other words, one email can wreck a person’s mood for the whole night, even if it’s not that bad.

If you can, you’d be wise to leave work at work. It’ll make your personal life happier.

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