New research, published in the Journal of Occupational Health and Psychology, reports that the urge to respond immediately to work-related messages may affect health.
Larissa Barber, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University, has a name for this phenomenon: telepressure. It’s the urge to respond immediately to work-related messages, no matter when they come. “It’s like your to-do list is piling up, so you’re cognitively ruminating over these things in the evening and re-exposing yourself to workplace stressors,” Barber says.
This continuous work connection has very real health effects, the study found: employees who reported more telepressure also reported worse sleep, higher levels of burnout and more health-related absences from work. “When people don’t have this recovery time, it switches them into an exhaustion state, so they go to work the next day not being engaged,” Barber says.
Do you respond to emails outside of normal working hours or do you prefer to digitally detox?
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