Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business News

Frequent email checkers are less focused and productive

A new study reveals that email obsession is not only unproductive, but actually has health implications, as the heart rate of a frequent email checker is in constant high alert mode, meaning it does not rest or increase like a normal heart should.

The stress of email

According to a new study by The University of California, Irvine in conjunction with the U.S. Army, people cut off from work email experienced stress reduction and their focus improved dramatically.

In this study, heart rate monitors were attached to computer-dependent civilian workers in a suburban office setting, while software sensors detected how often they switched windows. The results were astonishing – people who read email changed screens twice as often and were in a steady “high alert” state, with more constant heart rates, while those removed from work email for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates. Those with no email reported feeling better able to do their jobs and stay on task, with fewer stressful and time-wasting interruptions.

“We found that when you remove email from workers’ lives, they multitask less and experience less stress,” said UCI informatics professor Dr. Gloria Mark who presented the results at the Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction Conference in Austin today.

37 window switches per hour

The report noted that the email users averaged 37 switched windows per hour, while those without email focused for longer periods of time and only switched screens 18 times per hour.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Dr. Mark says the findings could be useful for boosting productivity and suggested that controlling email login times, batching messages or other strategies might be helpful, and although it was difficult to recruit volunteers, she said, that “participants loved being without email, especially if their manager said it was OK. In general, they were much happier to interact in person.”

Lacking email forced employees to walk to other employees’ desks, also offering physical relief as an added benefit, but those without email did report a feeling of “feeling somewhat isolated,” but were able to garner critical information from their colleagues with email.

High alert hear rates may be a health hazard

UC Irvine says that other research has shown that people with steady “high alert” heart rates have more cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. Stress on the job, in turn, has been linked to a variety of health problems, particularly reduction of the strength of a worker’s immune system and ability fight off illness and infection.

Dr. Mark suggests controlling email login times, batching messages or other strategies to streamline email use. For reasons of productivity not based on this new study, some companies are banning email altogether and funneling employees into the company intranet, like a French company who recently banned 80,000 employees from using email, after extensive internal studies of productivity.

Perhaps we will see a middle ground between email obsession and an email ban for most American companies in coming years as more research reveals how email is linked to productivity.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Matthew

    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    It makes a lot of sense!

  2. ozchrob

    May 30, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Read my thoughts on the health issues raised  https://blog.unifiedinbox.com/zombie-email-health-scare 

  3. Pingback: French workers have the "Right to Disconnect" from work, should we follow suit? - The Real Daily

  4. Pingback: How to Reduce Workplace Distractions and Boost Employee Morale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

AdBlocker Message

Our website is kept FREE to you by displaying online ads to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker OR subscribing to our email newsletter: https://theamericangenius.com/get-american-genius-newsletter/

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Business Entrepreneur

Whether you're a small business or startup, improving productivity means more money and less stress. Here are five tools to help do just that!

Opinion Editorials

It is easy to lose sight of everything on your to do list which makes hiring a personal assistant seem super attractive. But do...

Business Entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) If microloans are being given to start new businesses, let's give to those who are starting their own businesses rather than MLMs.

Business Entrepreneur

Being a freelancer, it can feel like a luxury to fire a client, but there's a few clear signs they're not worth your time.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.