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Abstract

Email has extended its reach beyond the

traditional workplace into the non-work hours

of employees, disrupting the work-life balance.

What was once ‘anywhere any time’ has

become ‘everywhere all the time’ (Mazmanian,

Orlikowski, & Yates, 2013). This study examines

the effects of email intrusion on work-life

balance from the perspective of a Christian

faith-based organisation, which has the

additional dimension of espousing a ‘healthy’

balance between work and life. A survey

of 500 employees of such an organisation,

attracting 208 respondents, found that nearly all

employees owned mobile devices that enable

them to access work email outside work time,

and that they frequently use these devices

when not at work to access work emails. The

employees perceived that anytime work emails

have provided them with increased flexibility,

but at the same time generated greater and

frequently unrealistic expectations of them, by

parents, students and to a minor degree school

administrators. These employees also often felt

that these anytime emails led them to working

longer hours, generated a sense of being

overloaded, contrary to the espoused values

of a work and life balance and the importance

of family. For these employees the solution to

the anytime work email intrusion and resulting

stress is not some external control. To most

of these employees external control would be

much too restrictive and teaching was perceived

to be and has always been more than just an

8.30am to 3.30pm responsibility.

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