Checking Work Email at a Funeral and Other Inappropriate Moments

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Time off from work no longer means time off from checking company email and staying in contact with fellow employees.  But some occasions seem more inappropriate than others.

A new survey of workers at small and mid-sized businesses finds 10 percent of respondents admit to checking work email at a child's school event.  Nine percent have checked work email at a wedding, and 6 percent have done so at a funeral.  Six percent of employees have checked their work email while they or their spouse was in labor.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software, finds 81 percent of respondents check their work email on weekends, 55 percent check email after 11 p.m. and 59 percent keep on top of their work email while on vacation.

Despite the growing use of instant messaging platforms, email dwarfs other forms of office communication:

  • 44 percent of respondents use email at work more than any other communications format.
    • 28 percent rely primarily on the phone.
    • 22 percent rely on face-to-face.
    • 6 percent opt for instant messaging.
  • 76 percent of respondents said they typically reply to emails within one hour during work hours, with 32 percent replying within 15 minutes.
  • Many employees use email for more than just communicating.  Fifty-eight percent use it as a means of storing and retrieving information.  The oldest saved email by a survey respondent was received back in 1994.
  • Employees in the Southwest are the quickest to respond to email, with 42 percent replying within 15 minutes of an email arriving.  Only 27 percent of residents in the Midwest respond as quickly.
  • Employees in legal, IT and telecommunications professions are more likely to respond to emails within 15 minutes.  Professionals who think that responding to an email within one working day is sufficient are more apt to work in education, retail, catering and leisure and arts and culture.
  • 90 percent of respondents say email is a “blessing,” with just one in ten considering it a “curse.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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