“The boundaries of the workplace are expanding and now reach deeper into employees’ lives, especially now that mobile technology is taken for granted.”
Slightly more than half of workers report receiving emails outside of work, and expect them to respond, according to a recent survey by Right Management.
More than one third (36%) of workers received work-related emails after having clocked out, while 6% received them in the weekend, and 9% while on holiday. Just under half of respondents, 49%, reported seldom or never receiving emails outside of work hours.
“The boundaries of the workplace are expanding and now reach deeper into employees’ lives, especially now that mobile technology is taken for granted,” Monika Morrow, senior VP of career management at Right Management, said. “Many find they can no longer just leave the office at the office, and instead will get emails or calls while commuting or shopping, or even sitting down to dinner,” she said.
Teleworking, with its less structured work day, contributed to the constant emails, according to Morrow. She also suggested that there were genuine emergencies when an employee’s supervisor needs an immediate answer. However, she said that these findings revealed that such intrusions were becoming the norm, rather than the exception.
Morrow expressed concern that for more and more workers their work life was encroaching on their home life, making it very difficult to switch off. “I suppose some workers can adjust accordingly, but for others it’s added stress when they ought to be relaxing with family or friends,” she said.
She suggested that bosses should think twice before messaging their employees outside of normal working hours. “They may think they’re being productive, but the effect may be the opposite,” she said. In addition, workers should think twice about responding. “People hear the ‘ding’ and act reflexively. It’s better to judge whether or not an instant response is expected, when the next morning may be just fine for all concerned,” she said.