Researchers suggest companies develop guidelines for communicating outside office
MONDAY, March 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many employees get mad when they receive after-hours emails or texts from work, and that anger can interfere with their personal lives, a new study suggests.
Researchers followed 314 working adults over seven days to track their responses when they opened work emails/texts after they had left the office.
"People who were part of the study reported they became angry when they received a work email or text after they had gone home and that communication was negatively worded or required a lot of the person's time," said study author Marcus Butts. He is an associate professor in the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington.
"Also, the people who tried to separate work from their personal life experienced more work-life interference. The after-hours emails really affected those workers' personal lives," he said in a university news release.
There were two major categories of workers. One group wanted to keep their personal and work lives separate and had the strongest negative reactions when they received after-hours emails/texts from work. The other group wanted to know what was going on at work when they received an email or text. They were also angry when receiving after-hours messages, but that displeasure didn't interfere with their personal lives.
Ways to deal with the issue include training leaders and supervisors what to say or not to say in after-hours emails/texts, setting boundaries for when to send messages, and creating guidelines for proper communication style and topics better discussed face-to-face, the study authors suggested.
"This is the new world of work communication, and these recommendations might work in one department of a company but not in another area of the business," Butts said. "The key is to develop your own appropriate communications rhythm within your department."
The study was published recently in the Academy of Management Journal.
The AFL-CIO offers advice about balancing work and family (http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Work-and-Family ).
SOURCE: University of Texas at Arlington, news release, Feb. 27, 2015