Here’s Why Email Puts You in a Nasty Mood
Marcus Butts, a professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, and his colleague, Wendy Boswell from Texas A & M University, released a study in June focusing on the emotional effect of emails received during non-work hours on Monday through Friday.
“We looked at the tone of the email and the time it took you to respond to the email,” says Butts. “When it comes to emails that are negative in tone, it makes you angry. Being angry takes a lot of focus and our resources and it keeps us from being engaged with other things.” In other words, an email—particularly a negative one—has the power to destroy your evening.
But there are two types of people in the world, Butts noted. There are segmentors, who keep their work and nonwork lives separate. They don’t answer emails after hours. And then there are integrators, people who mesh their work and personal lives by combining their work lives with their social lives and tend to answer emails at all hours. It’s the integrators who get more stressed when an email pops up.
Regardless, the anxiety of email is “not good,” Butts says. “Email doesn’t let you pay attention or engage in non-work life.”