Magazine article Work & Family Life

Check Email Less Often.And Feel Better

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Check Email Less Often.And Feel Better

Article excerpt

RESEARCH REVIEW

Researchers have found a correlation between dealing with email and feeling stress. But does that make email the culprit? Or is there some other explanation?

A nationwide survey found that three out of four employees said they replied to email within an hour or less of receiving it. This led researchers in Canada to ask: "Could the frequency with which people answer their email play a role in causing stress?"

They conducted an exploratory two-week field experiment with 124 adults ranging from students and professors to doctors and IT workers. They reported their findings in a recent issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

In the first week of the study, they told half * of the participants to keep their mailboxes open, email alerts on, and to check their email as often as they could. They instructed the other participants to check their email three times a day and keep their mailboxes closed and alerts off.

At the end of each work day, both groups of study participants reported on how the day had gone using a wide range of measures-such as how often they had trouble coping with the work they had to do. %

"Although the only thing we changed about the participants' lives was how often they checked their email, we observed a significant reduction in stress when they checked email less frequently," according to Professor Elizabeth Dunn and graduate student Kostadin Kushlev, both in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, writing about their experiment in The New York Times. …

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