Work Email Trends After Hours

Nothing is certain, except death and taxes—and according to the latest surveys, nonstop work email. In Part 1, we talked about Americans’ relationship with work email and learned that while there are some differences from region to region, as a whole, work email remains a major, constant component to most people’s lives. So, is that a problem? ReachMail recently surveyed 1000 people to learn what it means to manage their inboxes.

 

When asked how much email respondents deal with, it’s unsurprising to see that 54% stated that they receive more email now than they did three years ago. Thanks to remote work and smartphone access, emailing is not limited to the 9-to-5 hours offices used to keep. 25% of respondents said they send emails after 6pm, and 23% admitted to sending emails even later, after midnight.

So who’s sending these emails? Interestingly, it’s men who are sending more after-hours emails, with 62% to women’s 46%. By age demographic, Gen Xers are most likely to send a work email after midnight, whereas 49% of Millennials claim to never click Send after 9pm. This might be because Millennials are not far enough into their careers to warrant more urgent or immediate action on business emails. The survey notes the connection between growing work responsibility and the tolerance for after-hours email. In fact, only 1 in 5 respondents who make $105k or more consistently say no to email during time off.

If Millennials are least likely to be sending post-work emails, they have the opposite issue for receiving such emails. According to the survey, Millennials get the most after-work emails at 62%, followed by 49% Gen-Xers and 47% Baby Boomers. This could be because Gen Xers were first adopters when emailing became such a prevalent part of work culture, whereas Millennials have always had email integrated into their lives, and companies might incorrectly assume that Millennials want to be connected at all hours. If they do, it’s probably not to their jobs but friends, family, and Facebook instead.

Speaking of personal time, at least 29% of those surveyed said that they frequently check their work email on days off and on weekends, and 46% check occasionally. Those percentages decrease for vacation but still—61% of people check at least occasionally while on vacation.

Why? Some respondents—in fact, 55% of Millennials—say that receiving and responding to work emails makes them feel important. That might help explain why Millennials are most likely to adopt the practice of inbox-zero than Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers. The fact that inbox-zero practitioners are more likely to check email more than 25 times per day, it’s no wonder that after-hours emails are so easily tolerated.

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