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Work Emails Cause Disruptions in Personal Life: Study

Mindfulness is within the employees' control, email expectations are not.

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Your work emails can affect your health, relationships
Your work emails can affect your health, relationships Pixabay

Does your boss expects you to be ever-connected on emails and work without boundaries? If so, besides causing harm to your health and well-being, it could also lead to conflict in family relationships, a new study has revealed.

Stress due to employers’ expectations of work during non-working hours brings strain in the family ties as the employee is unable to fulfil non-work roles at home.

Such expectations are “an insidious stressor that not only increases employee anxiety, decreases their relationship satisfaction and has detrimental effects on employee health, but it also negatively affects their partner’s health and marital satisfaction perceptions,” said Liuba Belkin, Associate Professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, US.

Employees do not need to spend actual time on work in their off-hours to experience the harmful effects.

If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated .Pixabay
If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated. Pixabay

The mere expectations of availability increase strain for employees and their significant others — even when employees do not engage in actual work during non-work time.

“The competing demands of work and non-work lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers feelings of anxiety and endangers work and personal lives,” added William Becker, Associate Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US.

The findings were presented at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Chicago.

According to Becker, policies that reduce expectations to monitor electronic communication outside of work should be ideal to mitigate the adverse effects of negative health outcomes.

When that is not an option, the solution may be to establish boundaries on when electronic communication is acceptable during off-hours by setting up off-hour email windows or schedules when employees are available to respond.

Emails
If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated. Pixabay

Importantly, organisational expectations should be communicated clearly, Becker noted.

“If the nature of a job requires email availability, such expectations should be stated formally as a part of job responsibilities.”

Knowing these expectations upfront may reduce anxiety in employees and increase understanding from their family members, he said.

Also Read: 8 Steps to Help You Secure Your Work Creativity

As for employees, they could consider practising mindfulness, which may help them to “be present” in family interactions, and help reduce conflict and improve relationship satisfaction, said Becker.

However, while mindfulness is within the employees’ control, email expectations are not, he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Computer Can Cause Neck Pain

Solutions include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level.

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Indonesia, e-commerce, computer
Indonesian domestic workers attend a computer class during their day off at the Sekolah Indonesia Singapura (Indonesian School) in Singapore, Dec. 12, 2010. VOA

Do you tend to suffer from headaches or neck and backaches from computer work? If so, checking your posture may help, researchers say.

Sitting at a computer with jutting head forward to look more closely at the screen compresses the neck and can cause fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, increased muscle tension and can even lead to injury to the vertebrae over time.

It can even limit the ability to turn the head, the researchers explained.

computer
The researchers suggest to check posture and make sure the head is aligned on top of the neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling. Pixabay

“When your posture is tall and erect, the muscles of your back can easily support the weight of your head and neck — as much as 12 pounds,” said Erik Peper, Associate Professor at San Francisco State University.

“But when your head juts forward at a 45 degree angle, your neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. Now the muscle weight of your head and neck is the equivalent of about 45 pounds. It is not surprising people get stiff necks and shoulder and back pain,” Peper added.

For the study, published in the journal Biofeedback, the team first asked 87 students to sit upright with their heads properly aligned on their necks and asked them to turn their heads.

Then the students were asked to “scrunch” their necks and jut their heads forward.

Ninety-two per cent reported being able to turn their heads much farther when not scrunching.

MBA, online training, skills, computer
Sitting at a computer with jutting head forward to look more closely at the screen compresses the neck and can cause fatigue, headaches.

In the second test, 125 students scrunched their necks for 30 seconds. Afterwards, 98 per cent reported some level of pain in their head, neck or eyes.

The researchers also monitored 12 students with electromyography equipment and found that trapezius muscle tension increased in the scrunched, head forward position.

Also Read: iPad Neck Pain More Common Among Women Than Men

The researchers suggest to check posture and make sure the head is aligned on top of the neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling.

Other solutions include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level, all to make the screen easier to read without strain. (IANS)