Evidence-based recommendations for dealing with work email

Russell, Emma (2018) Evidence-based recommendations for dealing with work email. In: British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) Annual Conference 2018: Evolution +/or Revolution; 10 - 12 Jan 2018, Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Email has been a central feature of working life for well over twenty-years. Often maligned in the popular press as enslaving workers by the tyrannical control it apparently exerts, email nevertheless retains its popularity as the most commonly used work communication method. In this two-phase Acas-funded research project we used a socio-material perspective to better understand the strategies people use to deal with work email, and how these are related to work productivity and well-being. In phase one, we conducted a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) to provide a rigorous and transparent review of the academic and practitioner research that has been conducted across psychology, management and human-computer interaction fields. From this we extracted three key themes (and ten sub-themes) relating to the strategies developed by workers for dealing with work email, and linked these to positive and negative repercussions for work productivity and well-being. In phase two, semi-structured, sense-checking interviews with 12 working adults were held to validate and illustrate phase 1 themes. A set of evidence-based recommendations are provided, capitalising on this research, to assist end-users in ensuring that their strategic use of work email is effective from a work and well-being perspective.

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