"I check my emails on the toilet": Email Practices and Work-Home Boundary Management

Marta E. Cecchinato, Anna L Cox, Jon Bird

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Email is widely used as a means of communication, a task management system and an archive and it often seems impossible to live without it. Our always-online society expects us to be available 24/7 at the cost of potentially blurring the boundaries between work and personal life. Furthermore, mobile and hand-held devices have made it even easier to be connected and therefore increased the sense of needing to be available to respond at any time. Whilst research to date has focused on identifying email practices on the desktop, little has been done to understand whether and how the introduction of mobile devices has changed our way of handling emails. In this paper, we describe preliminary results from an interview study that explored in particular the role of mobile devices in email management and work-home boundary management. We found that mobile technology impacts even on the most private of non-work moments. We provide examples of the ways in which technology supports frequent switching between work and non-work contexts, and demonstrate the strategies that people develop in order to manage these boundaries, by using what we call micro-boundaries (e.g. having two email apps on a phone).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
EventMobileHCI 2014: 16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 23 Sept 201426 Sept 2014


ConferenceMobileHCI 2014
Internet address


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