Checking Work Email At Night May Be More Harmful Than You Thought

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Does this sound familiar? You’re finally home from work and just ready to relax with your favorite trashy TV show and perhaps a slice (or three) of chocolate cake. And then you hear that telltale ping that means you've got a new work email. The worst. Even if you try to ignore it, the number in that glaring red circle over the mail app on your phone continues to increase, along with your anxiety levels. Well, a new study concludes that this cycle may be even more harmful than you thought.

Researchers from Colorado State, Virginia Tech, and Lehigh University teamed up to study the effects of checking work emails after hours. Subjects included 385 workers from a wide range of professional fields (primarily finance and banking, technology, and healthcare), who were surveyed about how much time they spend on email outside of normal work hours. They were also asked about emotional exhaustion, work-family balance, and how well they are able to mentally separate themselves from work during their time off.

The results showed that expectations about checking email after work had a negative overall effect on employees' emotional states. Feeling the pressure to be available via email could lead to “burnout” and impact work-family balance, which the study points out is essential for health and well-being. So not only does receiving emails after-hours put a lot of stress on workers, just anticipating emails can have a significant and detrimental impact.

We might have some control over whether or not we check our emails after work, but we really don’t have any way to ensure that coworkers, clients, or superiors won’t bug us during non-business hours. That’s why some countries like France have passed labor reform laws that ban work email during the evening and on weekends. Studies like this one back up these labor reform laws, and we definitely hope it means change is coming for us, too. (HelloGiggles)

More from Work & Money

The morning at my insurance firm was hectic. My first appointment after lunch was a balding man in his mid-50s. I smiled at him warmly and attempted ...
9:30 p.m. — HANGRY. Get home and eat canned soup and watch Netflix before bed
Any recent grads freaking out about their job prospects need not fear: Apparently the demand for exorcists has never been higher. The Telegraph reports ...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
9:45 a.m. — Starbucks reward, bitches! OBV I get the most expensive thing that I can concoct. A Venti 5 shot soy latte. Yum
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
Fifty percent off your purchase here. 1,000 free miles there. When it comes to credit cards, the benefits are easy to see — while the downsides are often ...
As the host of RIOT's Woke Bae, we already know comedian Phoebe Robinson is funny AF while getting serious about major issues like feminism and ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
12:45 p.m. — I have a dryer, rare in Shanghai, so my friend runs home to get his laundry and then does a load at my place