Title: Usage intensity of mobile instant messengers for work and employees' anxiety

Authors: Muhammad Ashfaq; Shubin Yu; Yang Liu; Kang Luo

Addresses: Research Institute of Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management, College of Management, Shenzhen University, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, 518060, Guangdong, China ' Peking University HSBC Business School, #631 Xili, Shenzhen, 518055, China ' JD.com, Inc., OneExcellence T3 Building, Guiwan Fifth Road, Nanshan, Shenzhen, 518055, China ' Peking University HSBC Business School, 631 Xili, Shenzhen, 518055, China

Abstract: Many companies have adopted instant messenger technology as a communication tool for work, because it offers greater flexibility and lower cost than other methods. Although instant messaging can increase employees' work performance, the usage intensity of instant messengers for work may influence employees' mental health. This paper investigates the effect of usage intensity of instant messengers for work on employees' anxiety level. We conducted a survey study and collected 261 valid responses from a panel of employees. The results showed that the usage intensity of instant messengers for work decreased psychological detachment, consequently increasing work-related uncertainty and eventually leading to a higher level of anxiety. However, the effect of work-related uncertainty on the anxiety level varied in employees' job levels. The influence of uncertainty on anxiety was stronger for employees with lower-level jobs (e.g., junior employees, assistants) than for those with higher-level jobs (e.g., managers).

Keywords: instant messaging; anxiety; employee; psychological detachment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2023.133100

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2023 Vol.22 No.3, pp.278 - 295

Received: 09 Oct 2020
Accepted: 01 Aug 2021

Published online: 01 Sep 2023 *

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