Researchers from the University of Sussex have found that, while a ban on accessing work emails outside office hours could help some staff switch off, it could also stop people achieving work goals and cause stress.
Many organisations have been considering how to manage employees' email access to improve their wellbeing. France passed a law in 2017 requiring companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails, and German company Volkswagen, has configured its servers so that emails can only be sent to employees' phones from half an hour before the working day begins to half an hour after it ends and not at all during weekends.
Employers should consider whether out-of-hours email access could be having a negative impact on employees, and if so, how to implement policies and procedures to support their workforce. A clear policy on remote working and email use would be a good starting point, but employers should be cautious about introducing a blanket ban on out-of-hours email, as this may cause as many problems as it solves.
"Employers need to provide clear guidance on remote working, including on the use of email and other forms of digital communication, to ensure that if people are accessing emails out of hours they are doing so because it suits them."