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Checking emails out of hours increases stress, study finds

Checking emails out of hours increases stress, study finds

by Andréa OLDEREIDE 07.12.2022
Working from home leads to less work-related stress and fewer health problems, researchers say
Photo credit: Shutterstock

By Uwe Hentschel and Andréa Oldereide

Working from home has a positive effect on employees’ wellbeing but the boundaries between work and personal life can become blurred and lead to more stress when workers check their emails out of hours, a new study published on Wednesday found.

Having remote access to company network is good for staff wellbeing as they are able to connect from home, leading to less work-related stress and fewer health problems, a team of researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) and the University of Rennes found.

But those who have to check and write e-mails after working hours are under greater pressure to continue working, and cannot simply switch off even if they are sick, leading to increased stress at work and lower life satisfaction, the study showed.

Working from home became the norm for most office workers during the pandemic and more people teleworked in Luxembourg than in any other European country, with nearly 60% of people living and working in Luxembourg able to do so which was well above the EU average of 40%, a report by a government advisory body previously showed.

Being able to choose working hours or decide which days to work from home are the most important factors for staff in Luxembourg, almost on a par with the importance of earning a good salary, a study by real estate agent JLL found.

While the LISER study was carried out before the pandemic, the results are still relevant, the researchers said.

The current practice of working from home has broken down the barriers between work and private life and many employees have become used to working out of hours, sending and answering emails, according to the researchers. 

Luxembourg’s cross-border workers living in France and Belgium can work from home 34 days a year without being taxed in both countries while those living in Germany can work 19 days from home.

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