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UNLV professor says checking work email at home could impact health

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-30 14:06:25-04

How often do you check your work email from home?

The answer for most is likely more than you like and a UNLV sociology professor's research says it could be impacting your health.

"Sending email to people on the weekend is stressing them out, burning them out," Dr. Simon Gottschalk said.

Many people check their work accounts after hours because they feel they are expected to be on call or are just searching for what Gottschalk calls the zero inbox bliss.

"It is unfair on Monday morning that you start your morning with 200 emails," Gottschalk said.

The email conundrum is part of the professor's new book titled "The Terminal Self: Everyday Life in Hypermodern Times."

"The fact that technology is available on demand does not mean people are," Gottschalk said quoting a social psychologist.

That's why when he leaves the office, Gottschalk leaves his work email behind.

"To me, it is the only way to maintain some control over time and space," says Gottschalk.

While most of us may see that as an unimaginable undertaking, Gottschalk says a little time away from your cell phone has been proven to improve peoples' outlook.

"It allows them to think in original ways, to produce new ideas. Their bodies are changing, everything is so much more peaceful," Gottschalk said.

But for most, the urge is too hard to resist with research showing the average person spends nearly a quarter of their day dealing with email.

About 30 percent of those messages are usually unnecessary but even reading the most mundane emails come at a cost. 

"Every email is a request for work.  Every text is a request for work," Gottschalk said.

So next time you find yourself stressed about the growing number on your email app or that constant buzzing in your pocket, Gottschalk says you might want to think about when and if a reply is really necessary.