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You’ve got mail, unfortunately: After hours work emails undermine employee recovery

Presenters Name: 
Maya Stephens
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Charles Calderwood
Secondary Research Mentor: 
9:30 - 10:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 9:30am to 10:15am
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
Not a Recipient

Work recovery is the replenishment of cognitive and energetic resources during off-job time (Meijman & Mulder, 1998). We explored how post-work e-mail characteristics influence four relevant indicators of employee recovery: affective rumination, psychological detachment, control and problem-solving pondering. Rumination is theorized to reflect a prolonged negative off-job reaction to work (Cropley & Zijlstra, 2011), so we expected that a perception of received e-mails having negative tone would predict higher affective rumination. (Hypothesis 1). Since work-related technology use undermines psychological detachment from work (Park, Fritz & Jex, 2011), we predicted that off-job psychological detachment and the frequency and duration of post-work e-mail usage would be negatively associated (Hypothesis 2). Employees typically perceive greater control over their leisure time when they do not work at home (Kinnunen, et al., 2016). Thus, we expected that the frequency and duration of post-work e-mailing would be negatively associated with control over leisure time (Hypothesis 3). Finally, because post-work e-mailing may be done partly to proactively deal with work-related issues, we predicted that the frequency and duration of post-work e-mailing would be positively related to problem-solving pondering (Hypothesis 4). Participants completed an initial opt-in survey and then completed a daily survey at bedtime for five consecutive working days. Fifty-three participants were included in the subsequent analyses. We tested our hypotheses using multilevel path analyses in MPlus. Analysis results supported Hypothesis 1 and 3, and partially supported Hypothesis 2 and 4. This study’s results suggest a standard for workplace emailing practices in order to support employee recovery.