The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
American Inbox 2: The Reckoning
Reaching out to you to share new survey data I’ve compiled that shows how Americans are checking their work email outside of the office.
I worked with Reachmail to survey 1,000 Americans who admit to spending time checking their work email outside of business hours. We wanted to see how people are dealing with work-related email outside the office and how work related email habits are evolving over time.
Here’s a snapshot of what we found:
- Compared to 3 years ago, 54% of Americans admit to dealing with more email each day both inside and outside the office.
- 75% of Americans admit to checking their work email on weekends and days off. 61% check their work email while on vacation.
- Only 25% of people said they’ve never sent a work email after 6pm. Men are also more likely (62%) than women (46%) to send work emails after 9pm.
- We asked people if getting work email after hours and responding promptly made them feel more important within their role. Younger people were much more likely to feel it made them feel important with 55% of millennials saying yes. There was a bit of drop off with Gen Xers 31% and Baby Boomers 18%.
Take a look at the full analysis in the infographic below:
Click to open / Right-click for save options
AMERICAN INBOX 2: THE RECKONING
ARE WE GETTING BETTER AT EMAIL?
Most people agree, when it comes to work email, less is more. With a wide array of project management and messaging tools at our disposal, one would think inboxes are getting lighter and more manageable.
Are they? We surveyed 1,000 Americans who use email regularly for work.
Compared with 3 years ago, how much email do you deal with?
About the same 32%
AFTER HOURS SENDING
25% of people say they’ve never sent a work email after 6 pm
23% admit to sending work emails after midnight
Men are more likely than women to send work emails after 9pm
Gen Xers are most likely to send a work email after midnight
49% of millennials have never sent a work email after 9pm
59% of people receive email from their co-workers “after hours.”
And only 1 in 4 people said they don’t like it.
Millennials get the most “after hours” email.
Gen X 49%
Baby Boomers 47%
Men are more likely than women to get email “after hours.”
As income increases, there’s a slight correlation with people’s tolerance for “after hours” emails. They seem to acknowledge it comes with the territory.
WEEKENDS + DAYS OF
25% Never check
29% Check frequently
That’s 75% who check email on days off
46% Check occasionally
Only 18% of people on the west coast said they don’t check work emails on weekends and days off, the lowest of any region.
Only 1 in 5 who make $105k or more consistently say no to email during time off.
39% Never check
18% Check frequently
That means 61% of people check at least occasionally while on vacation
43% Check occasionally
71% of people on the west coast said they check on vacation at least occasionally (and 20% check frequently)
43% of women ignore email on vacation, compared with 33% of men
JUST ABOUT THE WORK?
We asked people if getting work email and responding promptly makes them feel important. Here’s what we learned:
51% East coast Most likely to say it makes them feel important
38% West coast Least likely to say it makes them feel important
Men were more likely to say yes, though not by much. 47% vs. 41%.
Younger people were much more likely to feel important.
55% of millennials said yes
31% of Gen Xers said yes
18% of Baby Boomers said yes
1 in 5 people have tried to change their email habits in the last 12 months
SPEAKING OF CHANGE…
Some people practice an organizational and workflow methodology called “inbox zero”. Here’s how inbox zero works:
Keep the number of emails in your inbox at zero as often as possible.
HOW TO ACHIEVE INBOX ZERO:
When a new email comes in, always take some action in advance the issue out of your inbox.
Your inbox becomes a place where new emails can land and get attention they deserve, rather than becoming an overwhelming pile of unaddressed work, in which new emails (and your sanity) are lost!
ARE INBOX ZERO PEOPLE BETTER?
36% of the people we surveyed practice the inbox zero methodology.
They are slightly more likely to be women. 37% vs. 33%.
Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely to have adopted the practice than Baby Boomers.
Gen Xers 33%
Baby Boomers 23%
Inbox zero practitioners are more likely to check email more than 25 times per day.
54% have email constantly open in front of them at work, compared with 41% of non-practitioners.
57% of practitioners are most likely to respond to your email within 5 to 60 minutes, compared with 46% of non-practitioners.