In Brief

Should checking emails while commuting count as work?

Wider access to wi-fi on trains has extended the working day, says study

Commuters who regularly use travel time for work emails should have their journeys counted as part of the working day, researchers say.

A study from the University of the West of England, which examined 5,000 rail passengers on commuter routes into London, found wider access to wi-fi on trains and the spread of mobile phones has effectively extended the working day.

The report, presented to the Royal Geographical Society yesterday, revealed that 54% of commuters using the train's wi-fi were sending work emails.

Researchers found commuters heading into the work were using their journeys to catch up on emails ahead of the coming day, while those returning home were finishing off work not completed during the day.

Far from providing people with more flexibility over working, the study revealed that access to technology while travelling makes people work extra hours on top of their time in the office – and even increases pressure and expectations that they will do so.

“The findings raise questions about the work-life balance - and whether it is healthy to stretch out the working day with people routinely answering emails beyond office hours”, says the BBC.

This increasing flexibility “has the potential to radically shift the work-life balance for the better”, says Jamie Kerr from the Institute of Directors, “but it also leaves open the door to stress and lower productivity”.

The research comes as a new study found that taking time off work can help you to live longer.

A 40-year survey, presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, concluded that people who took fewer than three weeks of annual leave were a third more likely to die young than those who took more.

Recommended

Mick Lynch: the veteran trade unionist leading rail walkouts
Mick Lynch
Profile

Mick Lynch: the veteran trade unionist leading rail walkouts

What is hepeating?
Colleagues sitting around a table in an office
Why we’re talking about . . .

What is hepeating?

How bad could the bear market get?
US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell
Talking point

How bad could the bear market get?

Why central banks are raising interest rates
Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England
Getting to grips with . . .

Why central banks are raising interest rates

Popular articles

Are we heading for World War Three?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Are we heading for World War Three?

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 June 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 June 2022

The Mediterranean cities preparing for a tsunami
A tsunami in 2011 in Japan
Fact file

The Mediterranean cities preparing for a tsunami

The Week Footer Banner