Do you ever feel like work is constantly demanding your time and energy? The stress caused by work and school may seem never-ending; we all have different mindsets when it comes to completing related tasks for these parts of our lives, but if there is no barrier between work, school and our personal lives, then it can lead to burnout.
With a technology encompassing world, making yourself constantly available to others over email, text and phone is a trigger for stress and seem impossible to avoid. There are different, substantial consequences based on the type of technology you are using. Professor Elena Karahanna of UGA’s Terry College of Business took a deeper look into how different forms of communications technology affect employees when they are off the clock.
Email communication seems to have little effect on stress when it comes to employees because they are in control of when they would like to respond. You are able to choose a time when it is most convenient and least disruptive for you to reply.
However, the effects on stress due to a phone call or text message are drastically different. When you are interrupted after hours to take a work or school related call, it is almost impossible to ignore.
Karahanna stated, “...phone calls have the largest effect on feeling exhausted at work and at home.”
The effects of text messaging on stress are not quite as significant as phone calls, but they are worse than email because we feel a pressing responsibility to reply more quickly. Most phones now have a read response so people know if you looked at the message, causing even more pressure to respond.
These interruptions outside of work take a toll on us. While at first they may not seem like a problem, they will continue to build up, and you will begin to spend your spare energy and relaxation time replying to work-related things when you aren’t even there. This is when stress builds, burnout ensues and it starts to have negative effects on your personal life.
There is a psychological transition that is takes to switch between work-mode your personal life, and constantly flipping this switch on and off can become mentally draining. When you are preoccupied with your work life while you are in a personal setting, it may cause thoughts of work to linger, and this makes your time seem more fragmented between the two.
Not all interruptions outside of work are bad, however. Settle reminders or messages to get something completed by a deadline are helpful and sometimes important. It is when work begins to take over your life that this becomes an issue.
Make an effort to separate work, school and your personal life to take time for yourself. It is important to, and you may even find yourself more stress-free because of it.
The original article appeared in UGA Today.