Working 9-5?: Professional differences in email and boundary management practices

Marta Cecchinato, Anna Cox, Jon Bird

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Technology not only brings benefits such as flexible
working practices but can also have negative stressful
consequences such as increasing email overload and the
blurring of work-home boundaries. We report on an
exploratory study that extends the current understanding of
email usage by investigating how different professions at a
university manage work and personal emails using different
devices and how this impacts their work-home boundary
management. Our findings lead us to identify two user
groups: those with permeable boundaries (primarily
academics) and those who have more rigid ones (primarily
professional services employees) and that there are
differences in when, where and how they manage their
work and personal emails. In particular we find that some
participants use micro-boundary strategies to manage
transitions between work and personal life. Based on these
novel findings we propose improvements of email software
design to facilitate effective email, work-home boundary
management, and micro-boundary practices
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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