UK office workers spend an average of three months a year on email

email checking

This find that averages three months a year on email marks almost an entire month more than German office workers, who spend 62 days a year checking their inbox, but nine days less than the French, who are active on email for 99 days each year.

Emojis are increasingly frequenting workplace inboxes, too, with nearly a third of Britons admitting to using them in the workplace. This number is on the up, with 20 per cent of UK office workers observing that emoji use in office email is increasing.

Over half of those surveyed would send an emoji email to their peers, while 27 per cent would send an emoji to a direct manager, and 19 per cent would send to a senior executive. The majority at 80 per cent expressed that using emojis in emails to senior executives was inappropriate or very inappropriate.

Round the clock emailing

The report also found that work email management is becoming more intense, with UK office workers spending 10% more time sending and receiving them than they did in 2015. This is likely due to the fact that Britons are watching their work email around the clock, with 79 per cent checking for messages outside of office hours. When it comes to the weekend, UK workers engage with an average of 43 work emails, while Germans engage with 17, and professionals in France engage with 16.

66 per cent of those surveyed check their email while watching TV, while 53 per cent check their email in bed, and 43 per cent check it when they’re commuting to work. A staggering 66 per cent check their email whilst on holiday. During a regular working day, less than a quarter of respondents in the UK wait until they’re in the office before they check their work emails.

Evolving email style

The growth of smartphone use also seems to be impacting the style of emails. Mobile device usage for emails increased 15 per cent in 2016 while desktop emailing decreased by 16 per cent. Office workers reported that email styles are developing more text message-like qualities. 38 per cent observe that emails are becoming more informal, 32 per cent think that emails are now shorter, and 26 per cent find that the written quality of emails is decreasing.

Annoying email behaviours and fighting back

One of the reasons for our exploding inboxes comes as a result of annoying email behaviours like using ‘reply all’ when it is not necessary – the biggest annoyance for nearly a quarter of office workers. This is followed by sending emails as a replacement for an in-person conversation and needlessly copying managers into emails.

However, UK workers are attempting to fight back to better manage their inboxes, with 47 per cent unsubscribing to email newsletters they don’t need and 44 per cent actioning an email as soon as they receive it – whether deleting it, filing it or immediately replying.

A quarter dedicate particular hours of the day solely to managing their emails, and over a third of UK office workers have even resorted to taking a ‘digital detox’ or break from email entirely, lasting an average of six days.

John Watton, EMEA Marketing Director at Adobe said: “This year’s email survey has highlighted more than ever the impact that smartphones are having on our email behaviour – email style, the use of emojis and being almost constantly connected to our virtual desks. While having access to email in your pocket can boost workplace productivity, we’re continuing to see self-imposed email detoxes which our respondents said made them feel more relaxed and liberated. It just goes to show that there are benefits to switching off every once in a while.”