The present dissertation examines the antecedents and consequences of employees’ work-related email (WRE) use after work hours in a sample of administrative assistants and office workers. Several individual, job, and workplace factors were examined as predictors of WRE use after hours. The individual-level factors examined were telepressure (i.e., the urge to respond to digital messages) and conscientiousness. Perceptions of the usefulness of keeping up with WRE for job performance and the degree to which employees felt the use of WRE was relevant to their job were examined as job-related factors. Workplace factors revolved around organizational norms, which may form by employees’ perceptions of their supervisors’ or coworkers’ use of WRE after hours and their perceptions of the extent to which they were expected to keep up with their WRE after hours. All antecedents, except conscientiousness, had a positive relationship with WRE use after hours, and telepressure, job relevance, and perceived usefulness were found to predict unique variance in WRE use after hours.
Burnout was examined as a consequence of WRE use after hours. Although positive relationships between WRE use after hours and burnout dimensions were hypothesized, results showed that emotional exhaustion did not significantly relate to WRE use after hours, and cynicism and reduced professional accomplishment had a negative relationship with WRE use after hours. These findings suggest that keeping up with WRE after hours may be a method to manage work demands rather that act as a source of additional work demands.
Voluntariness was found to moderate WRE use after hours’ relationships with emotional exhaustion and reduced professional accomplishment, suggesting that if employees feel the use of WRE after hours is non-mandatory, they are likely to experience more positive wellbeing outcomes as a result of keeping up with their WRE after hours. The findings of the present dissertation make a unique contribution to an emerging area of literature, and allow researchers and practitioners to gain better insight into factors that can influence employees’ WRE use after hours, possible consequences of keeping up with WRE, and factors that can influence the relationship between WRE use after hours and burnout.