Tags: email | vacation | stress

Email 'Vacations' Ease Stress

Monday, 07 May 2012 12:18 PM

Have you ever worried about going on vacation and not being able to access your work email? As it turns out, that kind of email "vacation” may be the best way to lower your stress level and give your health a boost in the process.

New research by scientists at the University of California-Irvine and U.S. Army has found being cut off from work email significantly reduces stress and allows employees to focus far better.
"We found that when you remove email from workers' lives, they multitask less and experience less stress," said lead researcher Gloria Mark, a UCI information-technology specialist, who presented the study this week at the Association for Computing Machinery's Computer-Human Interaction Conference in Austin, Texas.
The study, funded by the Army and the National Science Foundation, tracked employees at the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center outside Boston. Heart rate monitors were attached to computer users, while software sensors detected how often they switched windows. People who read email changed screens twice as often and were in a steady "high alert" state, with more constant heart rates.
Those removed from email for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates. They also reported feeling better able to do their jobs and stay on task, with fewer stressful and time-wasting interruptions.
Mark said the findings suggest that controlling email login times, batching messages or other strategies might be helpful to employees and boost productivity.
"Email vacations on the job may be a good idea," she noted. "We need to experiment with that."
Mark also said "participants loved being without email, especially if their manager said it was OK. In general, they were much happier to interact in person."
Getting up and walking to someone's desk instead of sending an email offered physical relief too, she said. 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.

© HealthDay

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Taking a break from work-related email can ease tension and boost your health and productivity.
Monday, 07 May 2012 12:18 PM
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