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When it comes to achieving the perfect work / life balance, some things naturally make sense – for example taking regular breaks and finding time to switch off and unwind. However, when it comes to the effects of checking work emails in out-of-office hours, opinion is divided.
With the rise of presenteeism in the modern workplace, many employees feel a pressure to go above and beyond, and this can often include checking and responding to work emails in their own time. In a fast-paced, high pressure role, it’s easy to see how this could potentially have a negative effect upon their health. Regularly checking emails at home means the lines between worklife and homelife can become blurred, and individuals may find it hard to stop thinking about work and truly relax. It is for this reason that in 2017, France passed a law that requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails.
However, according to new research from the University of Sussex, the effects of this rule are not clear cut. Whilst a ban on checking emails out-of-hours will undoubtably help many employees distinguish between their required work time and their valuable downtime, the latest findings show this is not the case for everyone.
For example, those with anxiety may suffer stress at the thought of not being able to keep on top of mounting emails. Instead, allowing them to check emails may in fact help to put their mind at ease. Similarly, those who would describe themselves as ‘career driven’ who enjoy striving towards ambitious work-related goals, may experience symptoms of stress at being banned from accessing work emails out-of-hours.
So what is the answer? Here at YourGP, our team of expert Occupational Health professionals believe it comes down to treating each employee as an individual and empowering each one to decide what they think would work best for them.
Our experienced Occupational Health specialists have worked with a wide range of businesses, delivering a range of services – from one-to-one medical MOTs and annual health check-ups, to fitness for work assessments. If you’d like to find out more about helping your employees achieve a happier, healthier work / life balance, call 0131 202 6696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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