While most of us cannot do our jobs without email, it can stress us out — and a new study shows that personality differences can affect how we use email and what we find stressful.
For the study, presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference, researchers collected data from 368 people via an online survey. All of the subjects had already completed a personality type questionnaire, researchers noted.
The researchers discovered that people with a “big picture” focus are more likely to check email on holidays, over the weekend and, before and after work than more matter of fact counterparts.
Unfortunately, sending emails outside of work hours leads to stress, as does the amount of emails we send and receive, the study found.
Managers, regardless of personality type, were more likely to feel that they waste time on email and to find it overwhelming and stressful.
People with different personality preferences found different aspects of using email stressful, allowing the researchers to compile guidance to help individuals cope with email more effectively.
“Our research shows that while there are some general guidelines for using email, everyone is different,” said researcher John Hackston from business psychology consultancy OPP Ltd. “Knowing your personality type can help you to avoid stress and communicate better with others.”