The vast majority (79 percent) of U.S. working adults say they have received work-related e-mails over the holidays.
A survey showed the majority of employed American adults (59 percent) check work e-mails during traditional family holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and other major holidays. Of these, more than half (55 percent) check work e-mail at least once a day and more than one in four (28 percent) do so multiple times throughout the day. Xobni, the creators of a Microsoft Outlook add-in that helps people more manage their e-mail and business relationships, sponsored the November online survey, conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive.
American workers continue to be inundated with e-mail at work and this latest survey shows that there is no sign of slowing down during the holiday season, with 79 percent of those who check e-mail while on holiday stating that they have received a work-related e-mail from a colleague or client on holidays. The onslaught of work is leading to growing contempt by American workers, with 41 percent of those that ever received work e-mails from a co-worker/client while they had time off for the holidays saying they are annoyed, frustrated or resentful after receiving these e-mails.
Younger adults have the strongest opinion on the matter with 56 percent ages 18-34 sharing they have the above reactions compared to just 39 percent of adults ages 35-44 and 30 percent ages 45-54. The survey also found that 12 percent of respondents actually "dread" seeing work e-mails populate their inbox and 10 percent even feel pity for those who do send work-related e-mails on holidays.
Despite their displeasure with receiving work-related e-mails on holidays, 42 percent of those that check work e-mail while they have time off for the holidays still believe that staying up-to-date on e-mail eases their workloads once they return from break. Additionally, 19 percent of those of those that ever received work e-mails from a co-worker/client while they had time off for the holidays even cited feeling "thankful" or "relieved" at having the distraction.
Employed males are significantly more likely to check work e-mail on holidays - 67 percent - compared to just 50 percent of women. Employed middle-age adults feel the greatest urge, with 65 percent of those ages 35-44 stating that they have checked work e-mails on holidays. And while the East and West coasts are traditionally considered to be the beating hearts of capitalism in the United States, the survey found that the Southern region led the way with the most people sharing that they check work e-mails during the holidays - 63 percent (compared to 57 percent for the west and 59 for the Northeast).
The survey also found that for some, the draw of work e-mail is just too hard to get away from. One in 10 who admitted to checking e-mail while off for a holiday stated that they did so while spending time with friends or relatives at holiday parties and gatherings or during meals. Younger adults are more likely to do so, with 15 percent of ages 18-34 checking e-mail during holiday events, compared to only 10 percent of ages 35-44 and just six percent of ages 45-54. Some of those (five percent) that check work e-mail while they have time off for the holidays even admitted to using work e-mail as excuse to avoid awkward family moments and other holiday commitments.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.