Are We Getting Better At Email? [Infographic]

Matt Zajechowski 3m 792 #email

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American Inbox 2: The Reckoning

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Reaching out to you to share new survey data I’ve compiled that shows how Americans are checking their work email outside of the office.

I worked with Reachmail to survey 1,000 Americans who admit to spending time checking their work email outside of business hours. We wanted to see how people are dealing with work-related email outside the office and how work related email habits are evolving over time.

Here’s a snapshot of what we found:

  • Compared to 3 years ago, 54% of Americans admit to dealing with more email each day both inside and outside the office.
  • 75% of Americans admit to checking their work email on weekends and days off.  61% check their work email while on vacation.
  • Only 25% of people said they’ve never sent a work email after 6pm. Men are also more likely (62%) than women (46%) to send work emails after 9pm.
  • We asked people if getting work email after hours and responding promptly made them feel more important within their role. Younger people were much more likely to feel it made them feel important with 55% of millennials saying yes.  There was a bit of drop off with Gen Xers 31% and Baby Boomers 18%.

Take a look at the full analysis in the infographic below:

Are We Getting Better At Email? [Infographic]

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Most people agree, when it comes to work email, less is more. With a wide array of project management and messaging tools at our disposal, one would think inboxes are getting lighter and more manageable.

Are they? We surveyed 1,000 Americans who use email regularly for work.

Compared with 3 years ago, how much email do you deal with?

Less 14%

About the same 32%

More 54%


25% of people say they’ve never sent a work email after 6 pm

23% admit to sending work emails after midnight

Men are more likely than women to send work emails after 9pm

Gen Xers are most likely to send a work email after midnight


49% of millennials have never sent a work email after 9pm


59% of people receive email from their co-workers “after hours.”

And only 1 in 4 people said they don’t like it.

Millennials get the most “after hours” email.

Millennials 62%

Gen X 49%

Baby Boomers 47%

Men are more likely than women to get email “after hours.”

As income increases, there’s a slight correlation with people’s tolerance for “after hours” emails. They seem to acknowledge it comes with the territory.


25% Never check

29% Check frequently

That’s 75% who check email on days off

46% Check occasionally

Only 18% of people on the west coast said they don’t check work emails on weekends and days off, the lowest of any region.

Only 1 in 5 who make $105k or more consistently say no to email during time off.


39% Never check

18% Check frequently

That means 61% of people check at least occasionally while on vacation

43% Check occasionally

71% of people on the west coast said they check on vacation at least occasionally (and 20% check frequently)

43% of women ignore email on vacation, compared with 33% of men


We asked people if getting work email and responding promptly makes them feel important. Here’s what we learned:

57% No

43% Yes

51% East coast Most likely to say it makes them feel important

38% West coast Least likely to say it makes them feel important

Men were more likely to say yes, though not by much. 47% vs. 41%.

Younger people were much more likely to feel important.

55% of millennials said yes

31% of Gen Xers said yes

18% of Baby Boomers said yes


1 in 5 people have tried to change their email habits in the last 12 months


Some people practice an organizational and workflow methodology called “inbox zero”. Here’s how inbox zero works:


Keep the number of emails in your inbox at zero as often as possible.


When a new email comes in, always take some action in advance the issue out of your inbox.

  • Respond
  • Archive
  • Delegate


Your inbox becomes a place where new emails can land and get attention they deserve, rather than becoming an overwhelming pile of unaddressed work, in which new emails (and your sanity) are lost!


36% of the people we surveyed practice the inbox zero methodology.

They are slightly more likely to be women. 37% vs. 33%.

Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely to have adopted the practice than Baby Boomers.

Millennials 39%

Gen Xers 33%

Baby Boomers 23%

Inbox zero practitioners are more likely to check email more than 25 times per day.

54% have email constantly open in front of them at work, compared with 41% of non-practitioners.

57% of practitioners are most likely to respond to your email within 5 to 60 minutes, compared with 46% of non-practitioners.




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