Navigation Links
'Email Vacations' Boost Job Productivity, Lower Stress: Study
Date:5/11/2012

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Email vacations while on the job could benefit people's health, reducing stress levels and contributing to better focus, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and the U.S. Army found that a group of workers who were cut off from office email use for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates and switched between computer windows only half as much.

Study co-author Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the university, said the findings could help boost productivity in offices that choose to implement these email vacations, either by controlling email login times, batching messages or through other strategies.

"We were surprised by the results, because they didn't have to turn out this way," Mark said. "It's possible that people might have been even more stressed not to have email, to feel like they were missing out on something, so we didn't expect that people would become significantly less stressed."

Mark and her colleagues presented the study this week at a meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery, in Austin, Texas. Research presented at scientific conferences is considered preliminary and has not been peer-reviewed.

Thirteen civilian employees at the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center, near Boston, took part in a three-day baseline data-collection phase, including interviews about their existing multitasking and email usage, and a five-day no-email period. All participants, who were split between men and women, were information workers whose job titles included chemical engineer, psychologist, materials scientist, biologist, food technologist and research administrator.

Co-workers who continued reading emails switched screens twice as often -- an average of 37 times per hour compared with 18 for "vacationers" -- and were in a steady "high-alert" state, with more constant heart rates, while those removed from email had more natural, variable heart rates, according to the study. They reported feeling better able to do their jobs and stay on task, with fewer stressful and time-wasting interruptions.

"While the study focused on email . . . it really got at some important issues such as multitasking, focus and being present at what we do on a day-to-day basis," said David Ballard, head of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. "It really highlights the importance of people not trying to do so many things at one time and being present at what they do."

Despite the small number of participants, the results were robust, researcher Mark said, and the only downside participants reported was feeling somewhat isolated -- though they were able to gather certain necessary information face to face from colleagues who did have email access.

Ballard said he has heard of some employers considering email blackout periods to benefit employees, but acknowledged that the concept "is a real challenge."

"The challenge here is that they would need to build some flexibility into the process," he said. "People like to work in different ways . . . not a one-size-fits-all approach."

"I think as we focus on flexibility in the workplace and flexible work arrangements that it's harder to implement an across-the-board solution like that," Ballard added. "We know from research that when employees have less control, it actually affects their performance as well. It could actually increase their stress level."

Mark said she'd like her future research to focus on how digital technology affects offline relationships, not just in the workplace.

"People are so consumed with technology, it's 24/7," she said. "I think the current younger generation interacts very differently than the older generation. I'd like to know the effect on interpersonal skills."

More information

Harvard Business School offers tips for mastering email overload.

SOURCES: Gloria Mark, Ph.D., professor, department of informatics, University of California, Irvine; David Ballard, Psy.D., head, Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.; May 7, 2012, presentation, Association for Computing Machinery's Computer-Human Interaction Conference, Austin, Texas


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Email vacations decrease stress, increase concentration, researchers say
2. In the Age of Email, the Good, Old Letter Still Holds Sway
3. People May Lie More Often in Emails, Instant Messages
4. Email sexual advice study highlights problems raised by different ages and cultures
5. MessageSolution Exhibits Cloud-Based Integrated Archiving Solution for Email, File Systems and SharePoint at SaaSCon 2010, Kicks off MessageSolution SaaS Tour 2010
6. MessageSolution First in the Market to Offer All-in-One, Integrated Cloud-Based Archiving for Email, File Systems and SharePoint at Novell BrainShare 2010
7. National Center for Policy Analysis and Salem Radio Network Deliver One Million Emails to Congress to Stop ObamaCare
8. Apptix Signs 100,000 Seat Hosted Exchange Email Contract
9. Sunset Marina and Resort on Tennessee's Dale Hollow Lake Provides Affordable Houseboat Vacations for Price-Conscious Families
10. Dual Purpose Vacations Combine Yoga Spa Vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, With Authentic Yogic Miracles Conference
11. Independent Study Reveals Family Bonds made Stronger on Vacations where Animals are Involved
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Email Vacations' Boost Job Productivity, Lower Stress: Study
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... , ... Just ask anyone old enough to remember what it was like ... up and containing so much metal that jokes about radio reception abounded. But thanks ... barely be observed. As a result, it’s now a billion-dollar industry and is, in ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Tim Rial Agency of Burleson, TX announces the ... By working closely with nonprofit groups and community leaders, the agency hopes to bring ... worthy organizations, families and individuals. , Tim Rial, the owner of Tim Rial ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... NCPDP Foundation ... that it has awarded a $40,000 grant to Johns Hopkins Medicine to address ... CancelRx enables prescribers to electronically cancel a prescription already submitted to a pharmacy. ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Bobbie Horowitz was hardly able ... multiple health issues. As a cabaret and theater producer, Horowitz would manage to get ... of transportation in New York City, so she had to take a cab everywhere. ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... Port Richey, FL (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... New Port Richey, Fla. location at 5304 Main Street as an interventional pain management ... of the spine and extremities. He joins PPOA from private practice In Brooksville, Fla. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... Ky. , Sept. 19, 2017   ZirMed Inc ... predictive analytics, today announced that it has been ranked #1 ... Black Book™ Rankings 2017 User Survey. ZirMed was ... solution for large hospitals and medical centers over 200 beds ... Black Book,s healthcare technology user survey history. ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... reviews on the independent review site Consumer Affairs have ... hearing aids, ranking it higher than Miracle Ear ™, Beltone™, ... ... Aids ... that provides high performance, state-of-the-art, German-engineered hearing aids directly to consumers ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... , Sept. 7, 2017  Eli Lilly ... announced actions to streamline operations to more efficiently ... improve its cost structure. Global workforce reductions, including ... are expected to impact approximately 3,500 positions. ... company expects annualized savings of approximately $500 million ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: