A recent survey of English and Welsh employees found that almost two in five (38 per cent) regularly check emails outside of work hours. Around 25 per cent check their messages before going to sleep, while 15 per cent say they sometimes read emails while in the toilet.
Following the poll a spokeswoman for Mind, the UK's leading mental health charity, reiterated the importance of “leaving work at work”, encouraging both managers and employees to maintain boundaries between job and home life.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: "While many staff have to work outside their normal working hours from time to time, we all need a break from work to unwind and de-stress.
“It’s not acceptable for staff to be expected to send and receive work emails at all hours. Employers and managers need to ensure this relentless email-checking culture doesn’t become the norm."
Tips for avoiding email creep
- Ask yourself if you really need to be contactable 24/7. If you have to check your emails during your personal time, try prioritising any actions and think about what can wait until the next day.
- If at all possible, don’t add your work emails to your personal mobile.
- Try being strict with yourself about when you check your emails – don’t make it a habit or part of your routine outside work.
- If you’re a manager, lead by example – don’t let late-night emails become part of your work culture.
- Ask yourself who's driving any expectation of out-of-hours emailing – is it coming from your manager, or do you enjoy feeling in demand?
- If you're not able to respond to all urgent or important emails during your work day, it may be a sign that your workload is too high. You might need to discuss this with your manager.
Need more guidance on maintaining a healthy work/life balance? We’ve got plenty of ideas for you and your colleagues.