A study co-authored by William Becker, a Virginia Tech associate professor of management, finds employer expectations regarding monitoring e-mail after work hours is the main reason employees are unable to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. In the study, he notes that even when no e-mails are present to respond to, the expectation alone leads to stress and ultimately affects employees’ overall well-being and job performance. While those who actively try to keep an intense work and home life separation are most affected, even those who don’t care are still often negatively affected.

The results of the study offer practical insights for employers to keep employees more focused during work hours, and less stressed during non-work hours. Managers need to be aware that extreme expectations ultimately lead to poor employee function. Becker suggests enforcing organizational practices that protect employees and prevent e-mail overload. Read related article