Back in the day, 5 o’clock came and you went home. You cooked supper, spent time with loved ones, watched TV and went to bed. An after-hours call from the boss? Totally inappropriate. Not during your private time. But today, all of that’s changed.
There is no pause. No specific time when work ends and your private time begins. There’s always something that needs your attention. And with GPS and Wi-Fi on every block, there’s no getting away from it either. Especially when your device is attached to your hand.
Telepressure: what does it mean?
Telepressure is the urge to respond immediately to emails and texts, even if it’s after work. Know the feeling? Many people do. And it isn’t just the A-types because it isn’t a personality thing – it’s an organisation thing. But it’s bad for your health. Here’s why:
The dangers of after-hour emails
A study that collected data from 303 participants found that people who showed higher levels of telepressure were more likely to agree with statements like “I have no energy for going to work in the morning” and “I feel like my batteries are dead.” Sound familiar?
Fatigue wasn’t the only problem they faced, however. People with high telepressure were less able to think clearly, less likely to dive into bigger tasks (they were more focused on looking like they were working), had poorer sleep and were more likely to take sick leave.
Solving the telepressure problem
Because telepressure is an organisational concern, it’s something to be addressed by leadership. Managers need to demonstrate that hard work isn’t non-stop work – it’s smart, balanced work.
Plus, being ever-available is not that impressive. In fact, it could demonstrate a lack of productivity during work hours.
But it doesn’t end there. As an individual, you can work towards alleviating telepressure – by taking the plunge and removing work email from your smartphone. Restrict your work emails to your computer (if you can) and keep your phone for personal use. Try it for a day…
The ever-presence of technology makes it hard to separate your work life from your private life. But with the fast pace of the modern world, we often forget to find the quiet we need to be great again tomorrow. Managing telepressure is better for your well-being. End of story.