Is your company actively making your employees work remotely? Are you filled with dread of returning to the boardroom filled with monosyllabic computers and soundless phones? Do you find yourself saying “You’re out of your mind!” in response to your workday as the coworkers around you nod and nod in agreement? If so, we’ve got good news: Your colleagues’ email habits are about to get even worse — at least according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, asked 2,118 of their colleagues how often they shared emails with colleagues when not in the same physical office. The researchers also used the so-called Observational Time Work Questionnaire to find out whether email being shared “make[s] it feel like you’re working” or not. When researching a paper about transient work environments, the researchers found that the majority of the readers agreed with both of those statements.
So why is email being shared at all? Well, for starters, the constant email is just a way to structure and manage email, as the authors point out. “Collaboration is essential to any creative team, and these communication practices are an important first step in the process,” they write. But all of this email is also “taxing”—both mentally and physically. “Email is a natural extension of teamwork, but it is also a team of internal hours spent—a contrast to the shared working hours required in traditional roles of workers,” they write.
To solve this problem, managers might want to start using (expletive) talk instead of email or leave their email in a drawer, and the last place to keep it isn’t on the device it’s more or less sat on since college graduation.
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