Do you engage with work emails on your commute? Well, new research carried out by implies that it is very likely that you do, and that it is sending your stress levels through the roof! As great as it is that our world is so connected, it also has its pitfalls. The reality of constant connectivity is that many modern professionals are suffering burnout due to overload. This not only leads to mental health impacts for us as individuals, but it also puts a huge dent in our collective productivity.

How Many of Us E-mail on Our Commute?

The fact is, with all the habitual application hopping we do on our phones, you will likely stumble on a work email during your commute, whether you want to or not! During this research, 76% of the professionals asked admitted to sending or reading emails during their travels to and from work. Not only did they admit to it, they also unanimously stated that they were extremely stressed as a result.

Why do we check emails on the commute? Well, of the above 76%, two thirds expressed a desire to get ahead of their workload before actually arriving at work. 7% said it was because they had no time to reply to people once in the office. However, the most concerning reason was from 23% of people, who said it was expected of them. This implies that employers are also taking advantage of this connectivity without a regard for the welfare of the people they employ.


How Does It Affect Productivity?

Now, we can’t blame businesses for wanting to up productivity. The world is more competitive than ever, and pressure for results is always in the air. Getting a bit of prep work out of the way out of hours does make some sense. The thing is, this actually works in direct opposition to the productivity that we desire.

This habit works against productivity in two main ways…

Stress. The people in the survey that admitted to emailing on the commute reported an average daily stress level of 9/10. This differs from the stress levels of ‘non-emailers’ vastly, their average being only 2/10. Stressed people are not productive people. We all work best when we are positive, confident and feel respected; these are not emotions and states that walk hand in hand with stress.

No Rest.By engaging with work related communications you are extending the time for which your mind is focussed on work. The mind can only concentrate intensely for a certain amount of time. If we take the average commute in London as about and hour; you are potentially extending your work day from 8 hours to 10. You are spreading your brain power to thinly; what you can offer when you are actually at work is impacted. Also, the brain needs rest, recovery and preparation time. Your commute should be spent doing these things. As soon as you open your emails you are taking away from essential brain relaxation time.

What Could We Be Doing to Aid Productivity?

The solution is quite simple. Save work for when you are at work! Don’t email on the commute. Instead, use your travel time to look after yourself. Those in the survey who did not take to their inboxes on the train listed a number of activities that they use in order to utilise their commute. Over half listened to music, 21% read books, magazines or articles, a further 21% simply did nothing. You could even catch up on your sleep like 4% of the ‘non-emailers’ did!

This problem is being recognised the world over, and a change in this habit has been proven by countless studies to boost productivity for both individuals and entire organisations.

Break the routine and get yourself happier and more efficient!


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