Do you feel obligated to check your work email on evenings and weekends? What about when you’re on vacation? If you do, you’re not alone. In many offices, employees feel like they’re supposed to check their work email during off-hours. Employees may not be officially required to check in – but it’s often an unspoken expectation.

It may not seem like that big an imposition. But research suggests that checking your work email during off-hours could have a damaging effect on your health.

In a recent study conducted by researchers at Lehigh, Virginia Tech, and Colorado State universities, it was found that checking work email during off-hours caused feelings of emotional exhaustion and burnout. In fact, study participants indicated that just knowing that they were expected to check their work email – and that there may be one lurking out there – was enough to cause them to feel anxious and unhappy.

So what should you do if you feel like you’re expected to be on call during off-hours? Talk to your boss about whether it’s really necessary for you to be available all the time. Maybe there are certain days when it would be acceptable for you to be off-line and unavailable. Or if it’s necessary for at least one employee to be available all the time, maybe you could create a rotating schedule. This would give you the chance to completely unplug during certain weeknights and weekends.


MacMillan, A. (2016, July 28). What being expected to check email after work does to your health. Health. Retrieved from