Technology has drastically reshaped the workplace over the past decades. While it provides organizations and their employees a variety of benefits, there is also a growing perception that technological advancements (e.g., the evolution from telephone to smartphone) in the workplace may have a negative impact on employees’ mental health. Using a diary approach, we examined the direct effect of workplace telepressure during off-job hours on psychological detachment from work and the potential mediating role of work-related smartphone use during off-job hours in this relation. In addition, employees’ individual differences in empathy was proposed to act as a cross-level moderator of the relation between workplace telepressure and work-related smartphone use. A sample of 80 employees, representing a wide range of occupations and organizations, completed a daily survey on five successive workdays (N = 337–400 day-level observations). Results of multilevel analyses yielded no direct effect of workplace telepressure on psychological detachment on a day-to-day basis. Yet, the results supported a negative indirect effect of daily workplace telepressure during off-job hours on daily psychological detachment, mediated via daily work-related smartphone use during off-job hours. Additionally, the relation between workplace telepressure and work-related smartphone use was not strengthened by the affective component nor the cognitive component of other-oriented empathy. Our study highlights the importance of a clear organizational policy regarding work-related smartphone use during off-job hours and provides valuable input for strategies aiming to ameliorate employees’ psychological detachment and proper smartphone use.

Additional Metadata
Keywords diary study, empathy, psychological detachment, smartphone use, telepressure
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.5334/pb.477, hdl.handle.net/1765/123589
Journal Psychologica Belgica
Citation
Cambier, R, Derks-Theunissen, D.A.J.A, & Vlerick, P. (2019). Detachment from Work: A Diary Study on Telepressure, Smartphone Use and Empathy. Psychologica Belgica, 59(1), 227–245. doi:10.5334/pb.477