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‘MTSU On the Record’ eyes limits on work email int...

‘MTSU On the Record’ eyes limits on work email intrusion into family life

MTSU marketing professor David Steffensen and the WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 logo are superimposed onto a file photo of a young woman staring at her laptop computer while seated on the floor as two chlidren happily run and play behind her in front of a couch. (File image by Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels)

The double-edged sword that is the professional email will come under examination on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. David Steffensen, assistant professor, Department of Management, Jones College of Business

Dr. David Steffensen

Host Gina Logue’s interview with David Steffensen, an assistant professor of management in the Jones College of Business, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, May 2, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Steffensen co-authored research that shows digital technology’s continuing presence in our lives not only can be an impediment to work efficiency by interrupting an employee’s workflow but can also create stress in relationships with family members.

Among the study’s findings was documentation that smart phones, tablets, laptops and other devices have helped blur boundaries between work life and home life.

The negative consequences of this confusion have led to legislation in France, Germany and Spain to protect employees’ right to disconnect from the workplace.

Although Steffensen says he isn’t quite ready to endorse similar federal laws in the United States, he does suggest that private sector companies can establish written policies that make the boundaries clearer to employees and managers.

“Especially if you’re very reliant on email, and you know that you use it as a means of communication, if you can, set the policy that employees are not to respond to email after working hours,” Steffensen said.

“If they know that that’s the expectation, if management knows that that’s the expectation, then nobody’s going to get in trouble for that.”

Department of Management logoSteffensen’s study, titled “You’ve Got Mail: a Daily Investigation of Email Demands on Job Tension and Work-Family Conflict,” was published this year in the Journal of Business and Psychology. The study is available to review as a PDF here.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.