Having a break from work emails was found to bring reduced stress and better concentrated for workers the join study between the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the United States Army.
To prove this, desk based office workers had heart rate monitors attached as they worked on computers. Computer software also detected how often the workers switched windows. It was found that workers who checked their emails, changed their screen twice as often and were thus in a constant state of high alert with more constant heart rate. Workers who were removed from email for a period of five days had more natural, variable heart rates.
Speaking to Mental Healthy, Gloria Mark of UCI said ‘We found that when you remove email from workers’ lives, they multitask less and experience less stress.’
Workers who were responsible for checking their emails switched windows 37 times an hour, on average. Those with no email checking responsibilities changed screens half as many times, around 18 times per hour.
This does not really come as a surprise, as people who are predisposed to stress could find it adds more pressure to check emails and see their to-do lists increase every hour. It may also show that humans are not by nature made for computer work – and consequently emails.
But as modern society revolves more around technology and being ‘switched on’ what can be done? Seeing as many of us cannot escape from computers, it is important to allocate time to check, read and reply to emails.