If you're kicking back on your time off and feel that urge to check your work email, don't. It really freaks people out.
Scientists from Virginia Tech surveyed 108 employees -- as well as 138 of their significant others and 105 of their managers -- and found that employees who check their email while they're supposed to be off not only made their fellow employees nervous, but also raised anxiety levels among their significant others.
"Some employees admitted to monitoring their work email from every hour to every few minutes, which resulted in higher levels of anxiety and conflict between spouses," co-author William Becker, an associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, told ABC News.Professor Becker asked, "Are we underestimating the effect this is having on our spouses?"Both partners also reported negative health impacts from the increased anxiety, which may be explained by the well-established relationship between chronic stress and poor physical and mental health outcomes."Anxiety can manifest in several ways, including changes in appetite, concentration, focus and decreased quality of sleep. It makes people less productive in their work and home lives," Dr. Lama Bazzi, who is part of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Directors, told ABC News.This study comes months after New York Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a "Right to Disconnect" Bill, the first of its kind in the U.S. and modeled after a similar legislation in France, which would make it unlawful for private employees in New York to respond to work email after hours. The study called for employers to set expectations for after-hour emails with both experienced and, especially, new employees.
And for those whose jobs require them to be connected all the time, the study recommends they should "engage in mindfulness practices" to take the edge off.