John HThe results of the study have been presented this week at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Liverpool by John Hackston from OPP Ltd.

Data was collected via an online survey of 368 people, all of whom had already completed a personality type questionnaire.

The results showed that those of us with a big picture focus are more likely to check our emails on holiday, at the weekend and before and after work than our more matter of fact counterparts.

Unfortunately, sending emails outside of work hours leads to stress, as does the amount of emails we send and receive. Managers, regardless of personality type, are more likely to feel that they waste time on email and to find it overwhelming and stressful.

People with different personality preferences found different aspects of using email stressful, allowing the researchers to compile guidance to help individuals cope with email more effectively.

personality types

Hackston commented: “Our research shows that while there are some general guidelines for using email, everyone is different. Knowing your personality type can help you to avoid stress and communicate better with others”.

Discussing how to make effective use of emails, Hackston shared his top tips with MARGINALIA:

  • Send fewer emails. “The more you send, the more you receive and that is stressful – for you and everyone else.”
  • Respond quickly. “People vary on how quickly they expect a reply, but try to respond within 48 hours.”
  • Be clear, concise, and correct. “Most people like clear, concise emails, with a subject line; many are irritated by errors.”
  • Take care with chains and copying. “Think of who should be in the ‘to’ line and who in the ‘cc’ line; avoid making people search through long email chains!”
  • Stick to the working day. “If you can, avoid sending and checking work-related emails at other times. This might be difficult, but try and have at least some time email-free, to reduce your stress levels.”
  • Be polite. “Your recipients will feel more positively about you and see you as more competent.”
  • Think about your audience. “Given your own MBTI Type, you probably have a particular style of communication. Vary your approach to match the needs of your audience.”