informa
/
3 MIN READ
Feature

Email: Workers' Constant Companion

Think you get a lot of E-mail? InformationWeek Research estimates that companies with annual revenue of less than $100 million receive, on average, 82,000 E-mail messages and send out 100,000 in a typical day
Think you get a lot of E-mail? InformationWeek Research estimates that companies with annual revenue of less than $100 million receive, on average, 82,000 E-mail messages and send out 100,000 in a typical day. Quantities increase to an average of 435,000 inbound and 219,000 outbound messages at midsize companies with revenue of $100 million to less than $1 billion. E-mail traffic is even greater among large companies with annual revenue of $1 billon or more: 2.4 million messages received and 1.6 million sent.

Checking InTo help manage the glut of legitimate and unsolicited electronic correspondence, companies have to invest in more than content-filtering and anti-spam products and services. Secure, efficient remote and wireless connectivity is increasingly becoming an E-mail necessity.

A survey conducted by Osterman Research in early February demonstrates how pervasive E-mail has become and the effect it has on workers' lives. Of the 320 business-technology professionals interviewed about their E-mail-management habits, two-thirds report that they faithfully check their business E-mail accounts during the weekend, with 47% of these participants checking Saturday and Sunday and 18% limiting check-ins to once during a weekend. Another 23% of survey respondents say they access work-related E-mail once in a while, not every weekend.

The need to remain connected goes beyond weekends. Even while away on vacation, survey respondents have a strong desire to stay on top of what's happening at work. Nearly two-thirds admit to checking business E-mail while vacationing.

Two areas where companies leave E-mail use primarily to employee discretion: using business E-mail addresses for personal correspondence and accessing personal E-mail accounts on company time.

What's your company doing to make E-mail access easier on workers, regardless of where they are? Let me know at the address below.

Helen D'Antoni
Senior Editor, Research
[email protected]


Constant Monitoring

How often do you check your E-mail for new messages when at work?

It isn't just personal time that employees are devoting to E-mail. A good part of each workday is spent on its management. Sixty-eight percent of survey participants in Osterman Research's study say they check for new messages more or less continually while at work. Seventeen percent check in a few times every hour, while 13% report checking several times a day. Only 2% access E-mail for new messages just once or twice a day.


Few Prohibitions

Does your company have a policy against receiving personal messages at your business E-mail address?

Just as Internet access can divert employee attention away from the tasks at hand, so, too, can E-mail, especially if it's personal correspondence. Yet 72% of survey respondents report that their companies have no policies that prohibit the receipt of personal messages to business E-mail addresses. Twenty-eight percent, however, work for businesses with rules that decree company E-mail accounts are for business correspondence and communications only.


Access Allowed

Does your company have a policy against checking personal E-mail accounts while at work?

Most companies don't prohibit employees from checking personal E-mail accounts, such as Hotmail and Yahoo, during the workday. Only a quarter of the 320 business-technology professionals surveyed by Osterman Research say their companies have policies against it. Three-quarters of respondents report no such guidelines and are able to check personal E-mail accounts without the possibility of any disciplinary consequences.


Even While Away

Do you check work-related E-mail when you're on vacation?

Vacations used to mean time away, a chance to relax and recharge, but remote access has changed that. According to Osterman Research, a majority of workers check their business E-mail while on vacation. Thirty-five percent say they check in at least once during a trip, 21% at least once a day, and 7% more than once a day. Only two in five leave electronic correspondence until they're back in the office.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing