HR departments are being urged to send ‘urgent messages’ to workaholics who check their emails out of working hours obsessively, as it could be damaging their family life and productivity.
Excessive email communication is leading to the UK’s employees to become less productive in comparison to their international counterparts. ONS figures show that the UK has the second lowest rate of productivity.
A professor of organisation psychology and health at Lancaster University, Cary Cooper, states that Britons work the longest hours in the world, in which we’re the most substantial user of technology than almost any other country, which contributes to an over-worked nation.
Cary Cooper stated that although emails and mobiles are there to support individuals, the overload of information is adding more pressure to people, rather than supporting them. He states that emails request an immediate response, which means that they are managing us, rather than us managing the emails.
The ease and accessibility to work emails beyond the desk, is seriously damaging the UK’s health. Nearly a quarter of people check their emails whilst they are on holiday, at night and long after they have left work.
Cooper mentioned that family destruction has been caused and health problems. Personal time is not being spent with children or extended family, as they’re too busy accessing their emails from home.
Not only is it affecting employees personal lives, it is taking away hours which should be spent doing work as excessive time is spent dealing with emails.
How can this be managed?
Some businesses have started to close down their servers overnight, this means that employees can’t access work emails and they can manage their own time and health correctly.
This wouldn’t need to be done for ever, it could be done for a week so that the temptation and habit is broken.
HR departments shouldn’t monitor the use of emails, however guidelines could be provided so that employees are aware that businesses want, as Cooper says “people who are fresh, who bring value, creativity and innovation and that isn’t going to happen if you are working all the time.”