Poor Email Etiquette Causing Unnecessary Stress

Feeling angry, stressed or anxious at home? It could be down to poor email etiquette or a marked as urgent work email, a brand new study has found.

The research which was conducted by YoungAh Park, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, shows that the expectation or receival of an email poor in etiquette can have a negative effect on our emotional state. Shockingly, the effects not only have an impact on the recipient, but also on family and friends if an email is viewed away from the workplace, the study concludes.

Email Etiquette Strain

Speaking more on the results of the study, YoungAh Park explains that poor email etiquette can stir up a variety of negative emotions and health effects on workers even after the work day has finished. “People who receive a greater number of negative, rude or just uncivil emails tend to report more strain at the end of their workday, which can manifest itself in all sorts of ways, from physical symptom such as headaches to feeling negative emotions. In this new paper, I found that email incivility has more persistent effects. It’s not merely a blip on your workday radar and then you forget about it. It has a cumulative negative effect for both workers and their families.”

Impact on Productivity

The troubling survey findings also indicated a severe impact on a worker’s productivity after receiving a marked as urgent or poor in etiquette email too. It revealed frequent incivility via work emails during the week can cause workers to completely withdraw from work the following week too, as Park comments. “This is a typical stress reaction. When you are under great stress, you tend to avoid your work as a means of conserving your energy and resources and staying away from stressors. It’s self-preservation. “What’s really stressful about email incivility is that, unlike face-to-face interactions, emails don’t have any social cues like tone of voice or body gestures that help recipients understand the context accurately.”

Reducing Email Stress

Park believes that both workers and their managers can both establish ways to lessen the possibility of stress and other negative health effects arising from emails. Her suggestion for managers is to understand what the effects of uncivil emails can be and to establish a code of conduct to ensure employees know their responsibility in sending and responding respectfully to work emails. For employees feeling the strain, she recommends fully disconnecting from email and from work tasks when not in the workplace. For personal matters or when raising concerns, Park also believes that in-person communication is key to avoid any further miscommunication or misinterpretations.

Have you ever felt stressed after receiving an urgent or poorly worded email at work?

What other suggestions would you have to help managers and senior colleagues deal with the potential impact of email incivility?

Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

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