Do you check and respond to business emails on your phone?
I stopped doing that a while ago, and life, and my work, have benefited because of it.
I studied the pros and cons of checking business email on my phone, and every study of consequence showed that doing so was both not good for mental health and not good for business.
Here is a summary of what I found:
The prevalence of smartphones has falsely convinced many that being connected to work 24/7 is beneficial. However, the practice of constantly checking and responding to business emails on your phone is definitively counterproductive, detrimental to your efficiency, and harmful to your business performance.
The limitations of a smartphone, with its small screen and keyboard, undoubtedly obstruct effective communication. Typing detailed, professional responses is a slow, error-prone process. Tasks such as organizing your inbox, managing calendars, or viewing attachments are unquestionably more challenging on a mobile device.
Continuously checking emails on your phone eradicates the boundaries between work and personal life. Being always available leads to burnout, reducing productivity and motivation. A healthy work-life balance is crucial, and being constantly “on call” dramatically impairs this balance.
Providing immediate email responses sets an unsustainable expectation of instant replies, increasing stress and pressure. Boundaries and expectations about your availability must be established, or you’ll find yourself succumbing to constant demands.
Incessant email checking disrupts your focus, leading to a significant decline in productivity. The distraction of an incoming email, when you’re engaged in another task, encourages multitasking, which is proven to lead to mistakes and inefficient use of time and energy. Research supports the concept that focusing on one task at a time is far more efficient.
The practice of always being available and responsive to business emails, while appearing beneficial, is definitively harmful. Balancing accessibility with focused, dedicated work time, and maintaining a separation between work and personal life, significantly improves productivity and business performance. The use of your phone for business email should be an exception, not a rule.
Checking business email from your phone can pose a significant security risk. Mobile devices are susceptible to threats such as malware and phishing attacks, which could compromise your email account’s security. If your phone is lost or stolen, sensitive business information in your emails could fall into the wrong hands. Furthermore, using public Wi-Fi to check email can expose your data to eavesdroppers. The smaller screen can also make it harder to spot suspicious emails or links, increasing the risk of falling for phishing scams.
Last, it simply does not look professional to have an email sent that says sent from your cell phone. I get that “times are changing,” but we are too quick today to throw professionalism out the window. Sure, there may be times that you have to check and respond to emails from your cell phone, but make those very few and far between, as in just a few times per year.
Be disciplined in structuring your business email use in a way that is good for your mental health, good for your business performance, and that honors and demonstrates your professionalism.