The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses.
While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50 percent of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we're sick. Even worse, 44 percent of us check work email while on vacation.
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A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named "telepressure."
Telepressure ensures that you are never able to relax and truly disengage from work. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance.
We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don't, our work, our health and our personal lives suffer.
Responding to emails during off-work hours isn't the only area in which you need to set boundaries. You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours. If you don't set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you're giving away something with immeasurable value.