Survey Says 19% of Americans Check Work E-Mail in Bed

Ugh. I thought it was just me. But last month's survey (by Xobni and Harris Interactive) on the e-mail habits of American workers shows it's true of most of us: we can't separate ourselves from our work e-mail.

  • 72% of Americans check their e-mail outside of regular business hours (vacations, weekends, non-work days).
  • 27% percent of Americans who check e-mail outside of business hours do so because they feel they are expected to provide quick responses, even outside the old 9 to 5.  
  • 37 % of Americans are afraid to go without checking their e-mail because they might miss something important.
  • 43% check work e-mail outside of regular business hours to ease their workload.
  • 18% feel they must check e-mail outside of work hours to have a successful career. 

One curious finding: we're not doing all this e-mail just to impress. Only 5% of the people surveyed admitted to e-mailing to gain brownie points from their boss or a colleague.

Inspired by the Sabbath Manifesto's National Day of Unplugging, I am proposing that each of us establishes an e-mail sabbath, some "sacred" hours that will never include work e-mail. (Whether you have your e-mail sabbath in bed or elsewhere is up to you.)

Want details, including the e-mailing differences between Americans and Brits? Read the survey press release or Xobni blog post.

— Leslie O'Flahavan

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