J003-Content-Hail-mail-or-fail-mail_SQToday, GFI Software published the results of its third annual email survey giving a glimpse into the unpredictable world of work emails.

From emails being sent by executives at 2:00 am in a bid to show diligence, to mass mailings CCing half the employees within the company, emails are continuously walking the very fine line between being a blessing and a curse.

The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters, an independent research company, who surveyed 1,000 employees – 500 from the UK and 500 from the US – who worked in companies of up to 500 employees.

For the raw data: 
Click here for the US results (downloads zip),
Click here for the UK results (downloads zip).


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For the infographics:
Click here for UK version
Click here for the US version

The results show work email is starting to claim its domain over the employees’ personal lives and their free time. This is probably due to the proliferation of smartphones and cheap data plans making checking your email as easy as launching an app on your phone. As many as 58% in the US admit to checking their emails at least once a day in their personal time while 39% said they checked their inbox multiple times a day or in real-time. Across the pond, the situation is similar with 47% of respondents in the UK admitting to checking their email at least once outside of work hours and 33% checking it several times a day or in real-time.

Curiosity vs need

In the US, 74% of those surveyed said they checked their emails on weekends (73% in the UK) and 39% of the respondents admitted to checking their emails after 11pm (44% in the UK). But are these numbers showing a more overworked society or are they a reflection of the immediacy of technology? Since it is so easy to fire up your mailbox on a smartphone, it could be that checking your email isn’t borne out of necessity but rather out of curiosity.

Waiting time

One of the beauties of email is the little freedom it gives you when it comes to sending back replies. Survey results show that the majority are very quick in sending back a reply. In fact 72% of those surveyed in the UK admitted they normally reply back within the hour (67% in the US), however, when it comes to expecting back a reply it looks like half of the respondents are happy to wait a little longer as only 50% (in both the UK and US) expected a reply back within the hour.

Privacy concerns

Both in the US (74%) and in the UK (77%) people revealed that they don’t use their work email for personal matters. Privacy is surely a top concern of email users at work and as can be seen by the results, the majority of employees prefer to keep the distinction between personal and business emails.

We still live in a ‘Hail Mail’ world

Even if work email has found its way into the personal lives of many employees the majority of those interviewed still think that email has a positive effect on their lives. In both countries, email is still seen in a very positive light with 84% of those surveyed in the US saying it is a blessing, similarly to the 86% who answered in the UK.

GFI Software helps small to medium sized businesses better manage, monitor and secure their networks. A solution such as GFI MailEssentials not only keeps spam at bay but also greatly reduces the risks of viruses and malware.

Click here to learn more about how GFI MailEssentials can help your business or download a FREE 30 day trial today.