Always ‘on’ social media and email addiction causes increased stress at work and home

The UK’s Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has released a report that highlights a sharply reduced quality of life for managers, who are ‘always on’ because of social media and email [1]. Smart phones mean managers and staff cannot escape the office and are working an extra 29 days a year, effectively cancelling out the annual leave. Over 60 per cent of managers surveyed said mobile technology makes it hard to switch off from work, with over half checking work emails outside of work hours [1].

Psychologist Professor Sir Cary Cooper of Manchester Business School, an expert in workplace stress states, “Something like 40% of people wake up, and the first thing they do is check their email… For another 40%, it’s the last thing they do at night [2].”

Social media and email addiction is recognised as a disruptor to our levels of concentration, productivity, our ability to communicate and our happiness, especially for children and youth. Ways to restore balance are presented on our website [3].

Some employers are now taking action to reduce the email and social media deluge after hours. Volkswagen, in 2012, switched off its mobile phone email servers after work hours to some of its employees [4]. Daimler allows its employees to delete all emails whilst they are on holiday [5].

Stress causes inflammation as the immune system becomes desensitized to cortisol, which is produced when we are under stress. Inflammation is an indication of many diseases such as cancers, diabetes, heart disease and dementia [6].

Both Germany [7] and France [8] have proposed laws to ban work emails after work hours to reduce stress on its workforce. It is only a matter of time until these become law because every year millions of days of work are lost to stress related illnesses [9].

 

 

Sources:

[1] CMI report: http://www.managers.org.uk/insights/research/current-research/2016/january/quality-of-working-life

[2] BBC News online: “Is tech addiction making us far more stressed at work?”, 13th June 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36517644

[3] WFNS Internet and Social Media: https://www.naturalscience.org/topics/health/internet-social-media/

[4] Volkswagen turns of email servers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16314901

[5] Daimler employees delete work emails on vacation: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28786117

[6] How stress affects the body: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/10/how-stress-affects-body.aspx

[7] Germany proposes after hours work email ban: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/29/germany-anti-stress-law-ban-on-emails-out-of-office-hours

[8] France proposes after hours work email ban: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/05/12/france-might-pass-a-law-that-makes-it-illegal-to-send-after-hours-work-emails/

[9] Stress days lost: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/661672/Mental-health-crisis-45-million-working-days-LOST-stress-anxiety-depression