Due to the widespread availability and use of smartphones and tablets, email is more accessible than ever and, as a result, it has become deeply embedded in the daily workplace and personal lives of most employees.
The conventional, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five-day work week is a thing of the past for the overwhelming majority of workers at small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a new survey on work-related email habits. The independent, blind survey of 503 employees in SMB workplaces in the U.S. was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software.
“Email has transformed the way we do business globally, but it has also had a fundamental impact on the work/life balance for many employees, especially in smaller organizations,” said Phil Bousfield, general manager of IT operations at GFI Software. “The research results have affirmed how critical it is for organizations to manage the use of email effectively, not only to prevent employees from being overwhelmed by a deluge of data, but also to ensure that email is exploited as a revenue generator and benefit to the business, rather than an inconvenience.”
The results highlight employee habits around email usage, including response frequency during the work day as well as after hours:
The new 24/7 paradigm
- Based on the reported email habits of survey respondents, the line between work and home life has become blurred. More than three-quarters of respondents (81%) said they check their work email on weekends, 55% check email after 11 p.m. and 59% keep on top of their work email while on vacation.
- Outside of regular work hours, more than six in 10 (64%) check email at least once a day. 12% of employees said they check work email in real time beyond the standard workday.
- One in 10 respondents admitted to checking work email at a child’s school event, 9% at a wedding, and 6% at a funeral. An additional 6% said they logged into their work email while they or their spouse was in labor.
- On the flip side, nearly one-third (30%) of employees also said they send personal emails from their work account.
Email used at the office more than any other form of communication
- Despite the growing use of instant messaging platforms, email dwarfs other forms of office communication. 44% of respondents use email at work more than any other communications format, with 28% relying primarily on the phone, 22% on face-to-face, and 6% on instant messaging.
- Email is a constant presence in the lives of SMB employees during the workday. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they typically reply to emails within one hour during work hours, with nearly one-third of them (32%) replying within 15 minutes.