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GFi 2015 Email Habits Survey Infographic

47 per cent admit to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time

Third annual Independent study by GFI Software reveals that work-related email is disrupting everything from holidays to funerals as employees struggle to cope with volume and culture of โ€˜always-onโ€™ working

London, UK โ€“ 24 June 2015 โ€“ GFI Softwareโ„ข today announced the findings of its third annual independent study into email user habits, which revealed that work email is encroaching into the personal lives and downtime of employees more than ever. Of those surveyed, some 47 per cent admit to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time, up six per cent, while 33 per cent admit checking multiple times a day or in real-time through pre-work mornings, evenings, weekends and days off. Furthermore, 43 per cent regularly check their work email after 11pm at night.

Following on from the findings of GFIโ€™s inaugural 2013 study and the companyโ€™s 2014 follow-up research, this yearโ€™s survey examined how employees interact with email and the main obstacles to effective workplace email use. The biggest hindrance to everyday email use, according to 45 per cent of those surveyed: Spam. In second place, 28 per cent of those surveyed pointed to the habit some email senders have of unnecessarily CCing vast numbers of people, which creates high-volume โ€˜Reply Allโ€™ loops of unhelpful and difficult-to-navigate email traffic.

The blind, independent study was conducted for GFI Software by Opinion Matters, surveying 500 UK workers from companies with up to 500 employees.

Key findings from the survey include:
โ€ข Monitoring of work email outside of work hours is inescapable, with 73 per cent of those surveyed regularly checking their work email at weekends
โ€ข A further 58 per cent admit to checking work email while on holiday
โ€ข Almost one quarter (24 per cent) feel compelled to reply to work emails within 15 minutes of receipt
โ€ข In total, 72 per cent of respondents reply to work emails in under one hour, while just under three per cent take more than a week to reply
โ€ข Down five per cent from 2014, the survey found that 23 per cent of workers surveyed use their work email account for personal activities. The drop suggests increased concern over company monitoring of workplace email and Internet use
โ€ข Nearly 29 per cent of work email users surveyed do nothing to organise their email, including archiving, leaving all incoming mail in their Inbox
โ€ข Just under 18 per cent have had an argument at home due to them checking work email during family time.

While most of those replying to email are motivated to do so quickly, those receiving email do not expect such a fast response. Only 10 per cent of those surveyed expect a reply inside 15 minutes, while only 50 per cent expect a reply in one hour or less, far lower than those actually responding in that time.

โ€œSetting and maintaining realistic boundaries between work and personal life is important to health, happiness and productivity. This balance is becoming harder than ever to accomplish due to the growth of tablets, smartphones, and now smart watches and in-car communications โ€“ all of which keep people wired into work even after they go home of an evening,โ€ said Sergio Galindo, general manager of GFI Software.

โ€œCompanies can and should do more to address this and help staff achieve a sustainable work-life balance. Companies need to put tougher measures in place to tackle spam and malware, and to make archiving easier for people. They also need to set clear policies on acceptable use of work email, as well as regarding when to switch off โ€“ employees need to know it is OK to let work email that arrived after hours wait until the morning and that it is important to prioritise family time and relaxation,โ€ Galindo added.

Social occasions are not safe from email erosion

The survey revealed a substantial level of work leaking into personal and family occasions. For example:

โ€ข Almost five per cent have checked email during a wedding
โ€ข Nearly three per cent have gone through work email while attending an event at their childโ€™s school
โ€ข More than one per cent have actively checked email while either they or their partner was in labour
โ€ข โ€ฆ and just under one per cent have checked email during a funeral

Email still the dominant communications method

For the third year running, survey respondents were asked to rank four business communications methods in order of preference. Email remains the most popular communications method, preferred by 44 per cent of those surveyed, although this is down seven per cent on last year and down four per cent on 2013.

Face-to-face meetings come second at 29 per cent, up 10 per cent on last year and also up four per cent on 2013. Meanwhile, the telephone (both fixed line and mobile) is still the third-most popular form of business communications, holding steady at 23 per cent for the third year running. Instant messaging is still an unpopular fourth, preferred by just over three per cent of the survey group.

โ€œDespite the seeming challenges and inconveniences of work email, people continue to view it positively, with 86 per cent of those surveyed rating email a blessing rather than a curse. It is proof that email continues to be a technology people find convenient and effective both at work and at home,โ€ Galindo added.

Comparisons with the US

The research was also conducted among the same survey sample in the US, with broadly similar results. Differences of note did include a higher proportion of users preferring instant messaging (eight per cent), a higher proportion of email checking during funerals (three per cent) and during child birth (four per cent), while fewer (12 per cent) have argued at home over checking work email out of hours.

A copy of the full survey results and an infographic can be found at:


About GFI Software

GFI Softwareโ„ข develops quality IT solutions that enable businesses to monitor, manage and secure their networks with minimal administrative overheard. Serving an expanding customer base of tens of thousands of companies, GFI focuses on scalable communications and security platforms comprising network security, web management, anti-spam, patch and vulnerability management, faxing and archiving solutions. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners worldwide. The company has received numerous awards and industry accolades, and is a longtime Microsoftยฎ Gold ISV Partner.

For more information

GFI Software
Please email David Kelleher at
GFI - Malta: Tel: +356 2205 2000

Davies Murphy Group
Please email Chris Green at
Tel: +44 1256 807360

Copyright ยฉ 2015 GFI Software. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To the best of our knowledge, all details were correct at the time of publishing; this information is subject to change without notice

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