America’s Relationship With Work Email

We surveyed one thousand people who consider email significant to their work, to find out which parts of the country have the busiest professionals.

Americans differ when it comes to the rate at which they check work email. Thirty percent have their email open constantly, 54 percent check their email multiple times per day, and just 16 percent check their email once a day or less. Thirty-seven percent of workers in the Northeast report their email is constantly open in front of them at work, and 31 percent from the West say the same—these two regions are both above the national average. Massachusetts has the national high, with 68 percent of professionals in the state reporting they have their email open throughout the work day.

How about the infamous “first check” of the day—does it happen in bed, at breakfast, on the train, twenty minutes after you’ve arrived at the office and gossiped for a bit? Well, 71 percent of Americans check for the first time between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. New York and New Jersey average the latest first check—just before 9 a.m.—and people in Utah check earliest, just after 6:30 a.m., on average.

As for checking for the last time before bed, thirty percent of Americans check before 6 p.m. and 70 percent after 6 p.m. Forty-six percent of Virginians check their email for the last time between 9 p.m. and midnight, while 13 percent more finish up after midnight. Not to be outdone, 71 percent of Tennesseans are fellow night owls, checking their email after 9 p.m., and just 12 percent check last before 6 p.m., well below the national average.

When it comes to sending emails, nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) send fewer than 10 emails per day. Thirty percent of people send 10 to 25 emails per day, 16 percent send 25 to 50, and eight percent send more than 50 emails per day. The West has the lowest average of sent emails, at 18 per day. The Northeast tops all regions and averages 22 sent emails per day, while Massachusetts has the national high of 28 emails sent per day, on average.

Response time on these emails also varies from region to region. Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they respond to emails within one hour. Twenty-six percent respond within one to six hours, 11 percent respond within six to 24 hours and the remaining five percent respond after 24 hours, on average. Virginians report the quickest email replies with an average response time of just over two hours. New Yorkers, surprisingly, are on the slow end—12 percent say they average a day or more to respond and 33 percent take at least six hours.

Unread emails also vary in number based on region. Over half of Americans have less than 10 unread emails in their work inbox. Twenty-six report having less than 50 unread emails, 13 percent have more than 100 unread emails and six percent have between 50 and 100. South Carolina reports the most unread emails, with an average of 29, while a whopping 30 percent of Tennesseans report having more than 100 unread emails. The Midwest has the fewest, with an average of 17.

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