Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Difficulty of Achieving Balance (2:02)
Curious about the impact of working during off-hours on mental health and interpersonal relationships, researchers from Virginia Tech surveyed 108 employees working at least 30 hours a week, along with 138 significant others, and 105 managers. The study results indicated that feeling obligated to check work emails after hours leads to increased anxiety in both employees and their partners.
Over time, both partners can be impacted by chronic anxiety, which can lead to chronic stress and poor physical and mental health. Depending on the individual, anxiety can also cause changes in appetite, mood, concentration, and sleep. Underestimating this impact could be the root cause of larger issues.
The research suggests that it’s important to proactively for employees to separate their work life from their personal life in order to alleviate anxiety and improve relationships with their significant others. Professor Becker tells ABC News, “Quality of relationships matter, as does being mindful and present. Turn your phone off, put it away and engage in your real life.” It’s easy to get caught up in your work life and technology, but it is manageable if you choose to be present. There is good news for New Yorkers: a “Right to Disconnect” bill has been introduced which would make it unlawful for private employees in New York to respond to work emails after hours. This bill is the first of its kind in the United States so if it is passed it could set a major precedent.