Preserving Psychological Wellbeing in Professional Communication

Our professional lives have become increasingly intertwined with technology. While we often discuss the importance of digital wellbeing, it’s crucial to recognize that this extends beyond the confines of our screens and devices. There is a subtle yet very important connection between our digital habits and psychological wellbeing in the workplace, and a relationship that warrants exploration and understanding. In fact, many of us unknowingly engage in digital behaviours that can subtly contribute to negative psychological wellbeing. Check out this list and see look at some common behaviours that might inadvertently contribute to negative psychological wellbeing. Consider this list as an opportunity for self-reflection and a friendly guide, rather than a critique of your habits!
Sending (New) Messages on a Friday Afternoon
Sending critical messages or new information on a Friday afternoon can negatively impact employees’ mental well-being heading into the weekend. Although the timing may be good for the sender (think one thing off the plate before the weekend), it has the potential to induce stress and anxiety for the receiver. Not only does late-Friday messaging offer limited opportunities for teams to seek clarification, it also prevents them from being able to address issues in a timely manner.
Try this instead: Schedule important communications earlier in the week. Consider implementing a team agreement regarding communication timing to ensure everyone has a chance to absorb and respond to information effectively.
Requiring Urgent Action (often)
Requiring constant immediate action can lead to burnout among your employees. Rushing tasks due to a constant sense of urgency may compromise the quality of work. It’s essential to acknowledge that everyone needs time to recharge and cannot sustain a constant state of urgency. Of course, there are times when urgent action is required. However, if everything is urgent then nothing is urgent. Reserve urgency for situations that genuinely require immediate attention to prevent “urgency fatigue” and maintain a sense of priority.
Try this instead: Establish clear criteria for what truly constitutes urgent matters. Encourage a proactive approach to planning and communication, so that urgent situations are the exception rather than the rule. Emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work pace, allowing employees the time they need to produce quality work without unnecessary stress.
Failing to Respond to Messages in a Timely Manner
When critical messages are ignored, it can result in uninformed decision-making, leading to potential setbacks, misunderstandings, and even project failures. And this may cause a ripple effect, impacting timelines, collaboration, and overall project success.
Try this instead: Foster a culture of prompt and open communication. Encourage team members to set realistic response expectations and communicate any delays in a timely manner. Establish guidelines for acknowledging messages and emphasize the importance of transparent communication for successful collaboration.
Ghosting is vanishing from a conversation like a magician’s disappearing act. Spoiler alert: it’s not magical; it’s just annoying. When messages, requests, or contributions are consistently ignored, others feel undervalued and unimportant, leading to a sense of disengagement and frustration. Not only that, consistently failing to respond or acknowledge messages puts into question the ghoster’s reliability. The result? It delays team progress, damages relationships, and creates a negative work environment. Bottom line: trust is built on a foundation of mutual respect, and ghosting undermines this fundamental aspect of professional relationships.
Try this instead: Prioritize clear communication by acknowledging messages even if a detailed response will take time. Set expectations for response times and be transparent about availability. If a delay is anticipated, communicate it proactively, along with an estimated timeframe for a more detailed response. This helps maintain trust and keeps team members informed.
Sending and Receiving Messages After Hours
Consistently engaging in after-hours communication may lead colleagues to perceive you negatively as a co-worker, as it suggests a lack of respect for personal boundaries. This behaviour can negatively impact psychological safety by creating an environment where individuals feel pressured to be constantly available. Disconnecting from work-related messages allows everyone to recharge, ensuring they return to work with renewed focus and energy.
Try this instead: Promote a healthy work-life balance by discouraging after-hours communication unless absolutely necessary. Encourage employees to utilize features like scheduled sending to respect others’ personal time. Foster a culture that values downtime and acknowledges the importance of rest for improved focus and productivity during working hours. Lead by example.
Forwarding Emails Without Permission
Coworkers often establish a specific tone and communication style based on their existing relationships and shared context. Introducing a new person into an ongoing conversation may be inappropriate, as the nuances, informalities, or inside jokes may not translate well without the background understanding. Additionally, coworkers might discuss matters more candidly or informally among themselves, and forwarding or copying a new person mid-conversation could lead to misunderstandings or discomfort as the context may not be fully grasped by the new addition.
Try this instead: Exercise discretion when including new individuals in ongoing email conversations. Consider providing context or a brief summary when introducing someone new. If in doubt, ask for permission before adding someone to the conversation. This ensures that newcomers have a better understanding of the discussion context, promoting smoother collaboration.
Remember, the goal is not perfection but progress! Small changes in our communication habits can lead to significant improvements in the overall wellbeing of ourselves and our colleagues. So, as you continue your professional journey, embrace the power of intentional communication and prioritize the mental health of both yourself and those around you.
Cheers to a more digitally conscious and psychologically healthy professional experience!


  1. Audie McCarthy February 6, 2024 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent tips!

  2. Cathy February 7, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    This is a point well taken with the Friday email adding to the receivers stress. I like the fact that a responsibility is placed on the sender to provide a healthy productive atmosphere!

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