Late night emails becoming the norm

If you receive a late night email from a client do you reply before you go to bed? And will you happily respond to a message even if it’s your day off?

If the answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’ then you’re part of a growing majority.

A survey into the working habits of SMB employees has laid bare just how readily workers will send and answer emails outside of the normal 9-5 working day.

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Three quarters of those surveyed for the poll admit they check their work email on weekends, 44% check work email after 11pm and 54% keep on top of their work email while on vacation.

7% of respondents even confessed to checking work email while attending a child’s school event, while 10% have checked work email during a wedding.

6% said they logged into their work email while their spouse was in labour.

Despite the growing use of instant messaging and texting, email continues to dwarf other forms of office communication. The survey revealed 49% of respondents use email for work more than any other communications format, with a quarter still preferring face-to-face meetings, and 24% still opting for phone calls.

Email is a constant presence in the work lives as well as the home lives of SMB workers. 75% of respondents said they typically reply to emails within one hour during work hours, while 29% reply within 15 minutes.

Phil Bousfield, general manager of IT operations at GFI Software, which carried out the poll of 500 SMB workers, said: “The research results have affirmed how critical it is for organisations to manage the use of email effectively, not only to prevent employees from being overwhelmed by a deluge of data, but also to ensure that email is exploited as a revenue generator and benefit to the business, rather than an inconvenience.”

Despite the extent to which email has become entrenched in people’s everyday lives, an astonishing 93% of employees said they regard it as a “blessing”, while 7% called it a “curse”.

The smallest companies surveyed, those with one to nine employees, were the least positive about email, while companies sized 50-99 employees were the most positive.

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