There are many reasons employees may feel stressed at work – job insecurity, interpersonal conflict, lack of control over workflow, and so on. These require close attention, and perhaps a culture shift, but as an employer there’s one source of stress you can target quickly and effectively and that’s email.

A recent study of 400 US-based workers revealed that on average respondents spent six hours a day using email and most of the time spent at work.

Researchers have also found that constantly being interrupted by email messages means employees struggle to prioritise work effectively resulting in decreased productivity and more stress.

No one denies email is an effective communication tool but modern technology means the line between our work and personal lives has blurred into one device.

Employees are increasingly experiencing a low-grade, chronic state of round-the-clock anxiety as the result of email. It is considered so serious that the French Government in 2017 enacted a law giving employees ‘the right to disconnect’ and legally protect their private time. Daimler has recently introduced stress-free breaks for all employees giving them the option to delete all new emails received while they’re on holiday.

Ultimately, every company will have employees who want to do digital overtime but the key lies in not setting that expectation; in letting employees know it’s OK to take some time out of their inbox.

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