Author Bio ▼

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
January 3, 2019

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Union advises teachers against checking emails out-of-hours

The largest teaching union in Scotland has warned its members that checking work emails out-of-ours can impact their mental health and wellbeing.

smartphoneIn new advice for university lecturers, EIS states that checking work emails during personal time is contributing to an “excessive long-hours culture” for many teachers.

It adds that the “over-use” of work emails has been shown to “adversely affect the health and mortality of workers”.

The document also warns against routinely reading or writing work emails outside normal working hours.

“The EIS advises you to “disconnect” from your work,” the advice states. “The normal weeknight or weekend should not involve reading or writing emails. Clearly, in exceptional circumstances or during short intense periods of work this may be necessary, but this should not be the norm.”

“If you have a work smartphone or read work emails with your personal phone, then give careful consideration as to how frequently you check work emails,” it adds.

“‘Dipping in’ to your work emails whilst doing other activities outside working hours means that you are emotionally and mentally at work, even if you are physically elsewhere. This, over the long term, may affect your mental health or relationships.”

According to the trade union, the new advice is designed to help members to manage work emails so that their work-life balance and health is improved.

“Emails have become an increasingly prevalent feature of everyday working life, including within the education sector,” said EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan “Advances in technology, such as the boom in the use of smartphones and other mobile devices, have increased the pressure on employees to be constantly ‘on-call’ and ready to respond to communications at extremely short-notice.

“This is an added stressor on top of already high workloads, with serious implications for employee’s mental health and wellbeing.”

Last month, SHP Online reported that more than half of workers would check their emails over the festive period, according to a survey by the HR consultancy Lee Hecht Harrison Penn.

“All employers have a duty of care to their employees, so it is incumbent on all employers, including educational establishments, to take steps to protect employee mental health,” added Mr Flanagan.

“This should always include appropriate protocols to manage the workload created by out-of-hours email communications, in order to guarantee appropriate work-life balance for all staff.”

The full EIS advice document is available to read here.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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