Dealing with emails at work and wellbeing

More than 20 years after it made its debut, email is still a vital form of communication in the workplace. Indeed, research published last year by Warwick Business School in conjunction with online archive 'Remember How We Used To Work' found the average person will fire off or read 10,000 new electronic messages per annum - that's 40 a day.

However, the ways in which employees cope with this deluge of emails could be ineffective - and they may even be damaging the recipients' wellbeing.

Sponsored by the Richard Benjamin Trust, Dr Emma Russell from Kingston Business School carried out detailed interviews with 28 email users to discover how they opt to respond to and organise their messages.

It was found that strategies such as email alerts may be effective in showing clients that companies care, but their 'always-on' nature can result in feelings of a loss of control and inability to complete tasks.

Other techniques that can have negative consequences included ignoring messages and engaging in 'email ping-pong'.

Presenting her findings at our Division of Occupational Psychology's Annual Conference in Brighton today, Dr Russell said: "Even though we think are using adaptive and functional strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of these strategies can be detrimental to other goals and the people that we work with."

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