Checking emails too often can cause stress

Toronto: Feeling stressed? You may be suffering from inbox burnout!

People feel less stressed when they check their emails less often, a new study has found.

The research also found that people find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking their emails.

Some of the study’s 124 adults – including students, financial analysts medical professionals and others ? were instructed to limit checking email to three times daily for a week.

Others were told to check email as often as they could, which turned out to be about the same number of times that they normally checked their email prior to the study.

These instructions were then reversed for the participants during a subsequent week.

During the study period, participants also answered brief daily surveys, including information about their stress levels.

“Our findings showed that people felt less stressed when they checked their email less often,” said Kostadin Kushlev, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate at The University of British Columbia (UBC)’s Department of Psychology.

However, changing inbox behaviour may be easier said than done, researchers said.

“Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day,” said Kushlev.

“This is what makes our obvious-in-hindsight findings so striking: People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress,” said Kushlev.

He noted that organisations may help reduce employee stress by encouraging their workers to check their email in chunks rather than constantly responding to messages.

The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.