What most of us will be doing on holidays: Checking our work email

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The holidays are a time for good food, gathering with loved ones, frantic trips to overcrowded malls and paid time-off from work — well almost. A majority of the U.S. workforce will be checking their work email over holidays this year, according to a new study.

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of employed adults in the U.S. check their work email on traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and 27 percent of those who check email do so several times a day, according to data compiled by email and social intelligence startup Xobni. The online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, polled 2,810 adults in November 2011 on their holiday email behaviors.

Okay, so we check our email. Guilty as a charged. Plus, more and more of us are always toting around email-capable smartphones so that makes sense. But perhaps more telling of our always-on, work-related holiday email patterns is this little nugget: 79 percent of those folks who check email on their holiday vacays said they received a work-related email from a coworker or client. That’s right, your coworkers are sending you action items when they should be sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner.

Of course, you may not mind the work diversion — and you wouldn’t be alone. Nineteen percent of those who received work emails on holidays said they were “thankful for the distraction” or “relieved.”

If this all sounds familiar that’s because Xobni conducted the same study in 2010 with similar results. The same percentage of people (79 percent) expect to receive work-related emails on holidays this year, but the number of people who expect to check their work emails has dropped from 59 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2011. But Xobni also found fewer folks will loathe the never-ending stream of messages in their inbox, as just 37 percent (as opposed to 41 percent in 2010) of workers said they felt “annoyed, frustrated or resentful” about holiday emails.

It even turns out that our holiday work preferences and patterns vary by our age and gender. Men, for instance, are still more likely than women to check their work email, but the percentage gap is closing.

You can have a look at the infographic below (click to enlarge) for some of Xobni’s other demographic findings.

[Image via Flickr/geishaboy500]


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