Are out-of-hours email a nuisance or necessary? With more workers choosing to reply to emails out of working hours, is replying to that email good for productivity, or simply bad for your well-being?
What is an out-of-hours email?
Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office until the end of the month and will have limited access to my email. If this is urgent, please contact Kristy and I will do my best to respond promptly to your email when I return.
This is the kind of out-of-hours email you will be met with when trying to contact Susan from HR who has inconveniently just taken her annual leave and is tanning it up somewhere in Spain while you are desperately trying to email around the office about a contract that needs resigning. But while out-of-hours email are a good way in letting you know that Susan from HR is most definitely not ignoring you, do they actually cause more stress then good?
Out of hours and out of mind?
A new study conducted by the University of Sussex reveals that out-of-hours email can cause work related stress to both the email recipient and the sender, with stress occurring when receiving work related emails during out of work hours, but also stress being triggered if out-of-hours email were outright banned.
The results of the study found that a ban on accessing work emails out of office hours could actually end up doing more harm than good to employee mental health, with workers actually wanting the ability to access emails while on holiday or during the weekend when the office is closed.
While switching off from the office would probably seem like a good idea for many workers, it seems that most employees actually like having the choice accessing their emails out of working hours, and that not being able to have access to their emails can cause the worker to have severe anxiety and uncertainty.
What Get Licensed Says
While working hard and taking responsibility is a good trait, the ability to rest your mind and de-stress from the working week is also incredibly important. Employers should ensure that if people are accessing emails out of hours that they are doing so because it suits them and not because they feel like they have to. Remember, jobs come and go, but your mental health and well-being is something that you will have to live with for a very long time. Put your mind on out-of-hours, and enjoy your weekend.
What do you think? Should companies enforce a blanket ban on all emails and work activity out of hours, or should employees be allowed to manage their time in and out of the working day?