Read the following text then read the ten statements. Five of these statements are correct according to the text. You can use a monolingual dictionary.
Is your inbox driving you crazy? Checking emails just THREE times a day can help relieve stress, study claims
Does your blood pressure rise at the thought of dealing with your inbox? Many of us find ourselves glued to our phone or computer, scared to miss an update from work or a message from a colleague.
But easing up on checking emails can actually help reduce stress, according to new research. They say limiting checking to three times a day could have a significant impact on mental health. Organisations could instruct workers to check their emails in chunks, rather than responding individually to messages when they come in, they suggest.
A previous study by German researchers found checking work email at home could be damaging to health. The German scientists said those who checked emails or took phone calls from their boss in the evenings and at weekends were more likely to complain of insomnia, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and stomach problems. Technological advances have led to an ‘always on’ culture in which people are constantly available for work through phone and email. They called for an end to work emails and phone calls invading home life to prevent ill health.
As part of the new study, researchers from the University of British Columbia recruited 124 participants. About two-thirds of these were graduate and undergraduate students, while the remainder worked in a range of industries, including health care, academia, finance, administration and information technology. Some of the participants were instructed to limit checking email to three times daily for a week. Others were told to check email as often as they could, which turned out to be about the same number of times that they normally checked their email before the study.
These instructions were then reversed for the participants during the next week. Throughout the study, participants also answered daily surveys, including information about their stress levels. ‘Our findings showed that people felt less stressed when they checked their email less often,’ said lead author Kostadin Kushlev, of the University of British Columbia.
Changing inbox behaviour may be easier said than done, however. ‘Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day,’ Mr Kushlev said. ‘This is what makes our obvious-in-hindsight findings so striking: People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress.’
Mr Kushlev’s inspiration for the study came from his own experiences with email overload. ‘I now check my email in chunks several times a day, rather than constantly responding to messages as they come in,’ he said. ‘And I feel better and less stressed.’ He advised that organisations may help reduce employee stress by encouraging their workers to check their email in chunks rather than constantly responding to messages.
The study was published online in Computers in Human Behaviour.