There is mounting evidence that our ability to disengage from work is important for alleviating stress, being more productive, and maintaining our health and healthy relationships with those around us. While access to email and having the flexibility to work when we need to allows us to be effective it also can create a great deal of stress for those around us on the receiving end.
What does the research show us?
Companies that have implemented email guidelines and practices:
- PepsiCo – After-hours emails are discouraged
- Vynamic Healthcare Consultancy - Emails discouraged between 10:00 pm & 7:00 am weekdays and weekends through a program called “zmail”
- Boston Consulting Group - One email-free evening per week
Suggestions for kinder emailing
- Consider setting clear expectations of when you would like a response to an email by adding language in your subject line: No need to respond to this until tomorrow
- Practice drafting, saving, and sending at a later time/during business hours
- Avoid “reply-all” when not needed
- Create a tag line under your signature
- Join Me in Email-Free Weekends
- Think Twice before Sending Emails After-hours
- Draft, Save, & Send Later
- Lehigh University (Liuba Y. Belkin), Colorado State University (Samantha A. Conroy), Virginia Tech (William Becker) – study on effects of after-hour emails: What Sending After-hours Emails Does to Your Productivity
- Slate: New York City’s Proposed No After-Hours Email Law is a Good, If Flawed Attempted at Promoting Work Life Balance
- found correlation to amount spent on after-hours emails and the less successful employees were at detaching from work – resulted in poorer work-family balance, emotional exhaustion.
- after-hours emails cause chronic stress and sets up an expectation that workers will be expected to respond during off hours.
- University of CA, Irvine: How Email Made You Less Productive
- Study that created a “no email” condition and then measured outcomes. Saw improved focus by not multitasking, increased personal conversations / connection, participants were less stressed, less distracted, reported feeling more relaxed and focused.
- Workplace of the future