IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

We can't stop checking e-mail, even at Thanksgiving

In a day, or two, we'll be a country in transit, braving enhanced pat downs and body scans to reunite with loved ones and take a few brainspa days from work. We're not going to sneak a peek at our e-mail while we're surrounded by the warmth of family and friends and stuffed with turkey, are we?

According to a recent survey, we are a nation of workaholics who can't seem to wean ourselves from our smart phones and computers, being complicit in our ball-and-chain relationship with work e-mails. The survey, commissioned by Xobni (an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that is supposed to aid in e-mail efficiency) and carried out in November, shows almost 60 percent of employed American adults (59 percent) check work e-mails during the big holidays this season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, etc. Of those folks, over half (55 percent) won't be able to resist checking work e-mail at least once a day and more than one in four (28 percent) will sneak peeks multiple times throughout the day.

For some, checking work e-mail is a habit they can't break, even while socializing, with one in 10 (10 percent) admitting they did so while spending time with friends or relatives at holiday parties/gatherings or during meals. The younger generation might be perceived as being more rude, as those ages 18-34 are the most likely to do this (15 percent), compared to only 10 percent of ages 35-44 and just six percent of ages 45-54.  

This is funny, and not so surprising given the imposed close quarters of the family holiday: "Some of those (five percent) that check work e-mail while they have time off for the holidays even admitted to using work email as excuse to avoid awkward family moments and other holiday commitments."

In fact, holidays can be so stressful for some, that 19 percent of those that have ever received work e-mails from a co-worker/client while they were off said they "thankful" or "relieved" at the distraction.

Xobni hired Harris Interactive to conduct the online U.S. survey, which took place from Nov. 5-9 among 2,179 adults ages 18 and older.

Other survey highlights:

  • Working men are more likely to check e-mail during this downtime (67 percent), compared to just 50 percent of women.
  • The e-mail checking urge is strongest in the South with 63 percent admitting to the practice (compared to 57 percent for the west and 59 for the northeast). 
  • Of those that check e-mail during the holidays, 79 percent said they have received a business message from a colleague or client.  
  • But some of us still expect to be left alone when we're not at work, and especially during big holidays. Annoyance, frustration and resentment fuel 41 percent of those that have ever received work e-mails from a co-worker/client while they had time off for the holidays. The youngest demographic (ages 18-34) are the most put off, with 56 percent, compared to just 39 percent of adults ages 35-44 and 30 percent ages 45-54.  
  • The survey also found 12 percent of respondents "dread" the sight of work e-mails in their inbox and 10 percent "feel pity for those who do send work-related e-mails on holidays."
  • But those who do send those work-related e-mails during holidays — 42 percent — do so to get the jump on the mountain of correspondence that awaits them when they get back. We've all come back to the almost 1,000 e-mails after going away for a week. Who wouldn't want to whittle that down, a little each day? 

So, will you be checking e-mail this holiday?