W2 Issues/Concerns


Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

In the News: Can answering work emails late at night lower productivity?

In this economy, it’s easy for workers to associate being accessible all the time to being productive, but the results of two studies published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processing suggest that using a smartphone to answer work emails after 9pm led to people feeling less well-rested, engaged, and focused the following morning.

In the first study, researchers from the University of Florida, Michigan State University and the University of Washington surveyed 82 mid- to high-level managers enrolled in MBA classes first thing in the morning and again late in the afternoon over the course of 10 days. For the second study, the same researchers looked at a more diverse sample of 161 employees in a variety of industries. In both situations, the authors found that smartphone use, as distinguished from other technologies (such as a tablet or traditional personal computer), could be linked to disrupted sleep and disengagement from work the next day.

What’s more interesting than the actual results is the “why” aspect of the whole situation. The researchers hypothesized the following:

Ego Depletion:
The idea behind this one is that we only have so much attention we’re capable of giving and need alone-time to recharge. Therefore, working through this so-called recharging time results in less focus at other times. Further, the researchers note that ego depletion – which is very much tied to self-control – has been linked to breakdowns in the regulation of deviant and unethical behaviors.

Sleep disruption:
The researchers also hypothesized that smartphones are specifically designed to disrupt sleep because when they buzz or even light up with a new message or alert, they defer our dreams and REM cycles. They also note that lack of sleep also contributes to lower glucose levels and metabolic rates in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, an area linked to self-control.

In the first study, however, researchers did detect a silver lining of sorts: much of these effects could possibly be mitigated by “job control,” or the extent to which an individual can decide how to organize his or her work. For some employees, this may mean being able to work from home some days or being able to take a generous paid maternity or paternity leave without worrying about losing their job. If none of these options are feasible, the researchers note that “perhaps it’s time we consider turning off our phones at night as less an abdication of responsibility, and more an action that ensures we’re more responsible the following day.”

HR Managers: Discover how to effectively tackle business challenges with a PEO
Small Business: Discover how Abel HR can help your business.

Featured BLOGS

  • FMLA: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

    As we’ve mentioned before, HR professionals love to use acronyms. One that you might hear getting tossed around a lot is “FMLA.” But what is it? Who can use it and under what circumstances? And how on earth do you go about applying for it? What is FMLA? FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. This federal law was passed in 1993 and is designed to allow eligible workers to “take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons,” according to the Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, the act covers an employee to take up to 12 weeks

  • Analyzing the Dreaded Task of Benefits Shopping

    Each year, you get the notice that it’s time to select your benefits offerings for the year. And each year, you probably put it off until the last possible moment for a variety of reasons: It’s overwhelming, it’s boring, it’s not a priority, and the good ol’ “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, if you don’t shop for benefits, you could be missing out! As a business owner, you might be forgoing some obvious cost savings, or even just a more cost-efficient benefits package. But looking beyond the obvious, you could also be skipping out on an opportunity


FSA | Commuter New Employee Abel Portal Time Clock