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No Hiding Place from E-Deluge

03 July 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

The third annual Independent study by GFI Software has revealed work-related email is disrupting everything from holidays to funerals.

GFI’s findings showed that work email is ‘encroaching’ into the personal lives and downtime of employees more than ever.

Of those surveyed, 47% admit to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time, up 6%, while 33% admit checking multiple times a day or in real-time through pre-work mornings, evenings, weekends and days off. Perhaps of worry, 43% regularly check their work e-mail after 11pm at night.



Main obstacles

This year’s survey examined how employees interact with email and the main obstacles to effective workplace email use.

The biggest hindrance to everyday email use, according to 45% of those surveyed was spam. In second place (28%) of those surveyed pointed to the habit some email senders have of unnecessarily CCing vast numbers of people which creates high-volume ‘reply all’ loops of unhelpful and difficult-to-navigate email traffic.

The ‘blind’, independent study was conducted for GFI Software by Opinion Matters, surveying 500 UK workers from companies with up to 500 employees.

Other key findings from the survey included:

  • Monitoring of work email outside of work hours is inescapable with 73% of those surveyed regularly checking their work e-mail at weekends.

  • A further 58% admitted to checking work email while on holiday.

  • 24% feel compelled to reply to work emails within 15 minutes of receipt.

  • In total, 72% of respondents reply to work emails in less than one hour, while just under 3% take more than a week to reply.

  • Down 5% from 2014, the survey found that 23% of workers surveyed use their work email account for personal activities. The drop suggests increased concern over company monitoring of workplace email and internet use.

  • Nearly 29% of work email users surveyed do nothing to organise their email, including archiving, leaving all incoming mail in their inbox.

  • Just under 18% have had an argument at home due to them checking work email during family time.

  • While most of those replying to email are motivated to do so quickly, those receiving do not expect such a fast response. Only 10% of those surveyed expect a reply inside 15 minutes, while only 50% expect a reply in one hour or less, far lower than those actually responding in that time.

“Setting and maintaining realistic boundaries between work and personal life is important to health, happiness and productivity,” said Sergio Galindo, General Manager, GFI Software. “This balance is becoming harder than ever to accomplish due to the growth of tablets, smartphones, and now smart watches and in-car communications – all of which keep people wired into work even after they go home of an evening.”

Mr Galindo went on to argue that companies can and should do more to address this and help staff achieve a sustainable work-life balance. They needed to put tougher measures in place to tackle spam and malware and to make archiving easier for people. “They also need to set clear policies on acceptable use of work email as well as regarding when to switch off, urged Mr Galindo. “Employees need to know it is all right to let work email that arrived after hours, wait until the morning and that it is important to prioritise family time and relaxation.”

Picture: Work email is ‘encroaching’ into the personal lives and downtime of employees more than ever

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 03 July 2015


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