Researchers surveyed 2,200 employees to study how digital communication affects work stress, work-life balance, health, and sleep. They found:
- 21% of respondents said their supervisors expect them to respond to work-related communications after work hours.
- 55% said they have sent digital communication related to work in the evenings.
- 30% said they send work-related digital communication to colleagues on weekends and expect a same-day response.
- Employees who said their supervisors expect them to respond to messages after hours reported high levels of psychological distress (70.4%) and emotional exhaustion (63.5%). Nearly one-fourth (22.1%) admitted to physical health symptoms, such as headaches and back pain.
- Workers who feel obligated to respond to work messages in off hours also report high levels of psychological distress (75.9%), emotional exhaustion (65.9%), and physical health symptoms (22.1%).
The authors concluded, “The personal and social implications of blurred boundaries between home and work are serious. When employees are answering calls or responding to emails at home, this affects their recovery from work – both mentally and physically.”