Want to lower your stress level and stay focused at work? Maybe you should give email a rest.
In an "urban office setting", UC Irvine and U.S. Army researchers monitored worker heart rates and how often workers switched windows. Workers that checked their emails hit a state of "high alert" more often — and stayed there. This email active workers also navigated away from their work twice as much as email abstainers.
Top image: Alex Hinds/Shutterstock.com
Researchers presented their fix to an email active worker's state of "high alert" and distraction in their press release:
"We found that when you remove email from workers' lives, they multitask less and experience less stress," said UCI informatics professor Gloria Mark. Those with no email reported feeling better able to do their jobs and stay on task, with fewer stressful and time-wasting interruptions.
In their press release, researchers acknowledge a negative to email abstinence:
The only downside to the experience was that the individuals without email reported feeling somewhat isolated.
Researchers suggest that an email abstinent worker's isolation is mitigated by having coworkers who don't abstain from email. These email active workers can spread key information around the office or just around the water cooler.
With just 13 study participants, it's a bit early to order an office-wide email embargo. Not only because some work environments run on email, but also because lots of people don't want to give up email. But maybe results like this can get even the most devoted emailer to consider going without.