Technology has undoubtedly made lives easier. People can now frequently get in touch with their loved ones and check for new messages online using their laptops and smartphones. Unfortunately, such connectedness also comes with unwanted side effects.

Many studies have already shown that using social media apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook can lead to increased levels of stress and other health problems. Now, a new study points at the disadvantages of being hooked to checking email messages.

The new research has shown that there is a direct link between frequently checking one's emails to increased stress levels and other unwanted health conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, thyroid disease and coronary artery disease.

Given the unhealthy effects of checking one's inbox often, experts advised reducing irrelevant and untargeted emails and avoiding the checking of new emails frequently.

Tom Jackson from the school of Business and economics at Loughborough University, who has conducted extensive research of the effects of work email on a person's health and mental wellbeing, said that multifunctional devices such as iPhones and Blackberrys make it possible for workers to be accessible throughout the day and thus, it is likely that this results in an increase in stress levels.

Jackson likewise pointed out that many employees are not aware they are stressed, with people involved in his study not perceiving themselves as stressed albeit physiological findings showed that these people's bodies were under higher amount stress.

Given this, employees may find it hard to regulate themselves on how they use communication media to ensure that they do not get overwhelmed by stress.

Jackson said that while email is not a bad communication tool, problems may arise with poor email training and management. He also said that not using emails efficiently could also have financial costs for business.

In one study, Jackson calculated the poor use of email costs employers up to 10,000 pounds for each employee annually in terms of lost production.

"It is recommended that communication managers or others responsible for email policy and management examine their email policies and develop a 'snapshot' of how their employees use email," Jackson and colleagues said.

Jackson has come up with an email training tool designed to help employers train their staff so they can use their email in the best means that can improve productivity and stress.

Photo: Ian Lamont | Flickr

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