How to get everyone to put down the phones this Thanksgiving

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - It's almost Thanksgiving. Time for everyone to gather around the table and pull out their phones.

Psychologist Lacie Barber from Northern Illinois University said it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to answer work emails while whisking the gravy.

The key to handling work emails while keeping your boss happy is to have what she calls "predictable time off." That's a specific time every day when it is known in advance you will not be available.

"Prep and communicate ahead of time. Remind people: 'I won't be available.' Manage expectations," she said.

She also said that keeping phones off the dinner table and out of sight during holiday celebrations takes a team effort. Because if one person pulls out their phone -- everyone does.

"It's contagious, it's like yawning," Barber said. "If you check yours, I check mine. We have to work together."

She said that people have to learn to set their phones down if they want to protect their health.

"This urge to answer messages and emails can have negative health outcomes. It can ruin your sleep. You can get burned out," she said.