Are Work Emails Set to Impact on Your Christmas?

Mike Halsey MVP
Dec 8, 2011
Updated • Jan 12, 2015

The BBC is reporting a small study by UK security firm Securenvoy into the impact work-related email will have on UK workers this Christmas.  The study says that British employees are so "email obsessed" that almost 50% plan to check their work email over the Christmas holiday period.

So how does this break down and can we draw any meaningful conclusions about it?  There were a series of questions in the study designed to do just that.  It would appear that those most likely to check their work email are also those people most worried about losing their jobs, either through redundancy or something else.

This would seem reasonable as work anxiety can easily cross over into holiday periods.  Those more addicted to their email however are also more likely to check their email.  People in the 18-24 age bracket were the biggest age group while those over 50 didn't seem to mind leaving work behind for a while.

Of the total figures, 31% of people questioned said they would intermittently check their work emails with 15% intending to check them regularly.  By contrast just 34% of people had no intention of checking their work email at all.

There can be no doubt that work email can impact negatively on the rest of your life.  The Work Foundation Think Tank told the BBC that "It suggests that about two thirds of all employees feel the urge to respond to emails immediately as they come through."  This is common in my experience and a symptom of the general immediacy of both email and instant messaging.

It is becoming more and more difficult to get away from work email too, with modern smartphones all offering Exchange support and more and more people having multiple inboxes on their phones and home PCs.

Personally I'll have a few email clear days but while I'll check work email as I'm self employed I don't expect anything to happen as the companies I tend to work with have clear closedowns.  It is an interesting phenomenon though so we'd like to hear if you plan to check your work email over the Christmas holidays and if you think there should be a clear switch-off from work when away from the office.  Why not tell us in the comments below?

Article Name
Are Work Emails Set to Impact on Your Christmas?
A study came to the conclusion that British employees are so "email obsessed" that almost 50% plan to check their work email over the Christmas holiday period.

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  1. Paul(us) said on December 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Years (more than 15) ago main outlook was standing open 24/7. Than I took a hard look at it and decided that I would only look 2 times a day. On ferry busy peeks, I look three times a day. On holidays I only use outlook never. Except when I am expecting a ferry import email.

  2. Swapnil said on December 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I am a student so I am not employed that I would get any work mails. Haha.

    Christmas is nothing special for me – I check my e-mail account 4 times a day.

    Though on Christmas I might be checking out for e-mails from Vishal Gupta (another Microsoft MVP like you – has his website at ) if I won any giveaway from there.

  3. Dean said on December 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Been there, done that, not going back to it.

    Had a job for about 4/5 years where I was pretty much constantly oncall; to the extent that I had to be picked up by someone from nights out in order to fix problems.

    My phone was like a third person in my marriage.

    Quit that and refuse to go back to that way of working; if I’m not being paid for it, I’m not doing it.

    Time off is mine and the phone goes in a drawer to be ignored!

  4. ParisMan said on December 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I don’t know how often i check my emails in a regular day.
    However, when i do so, i feel no pressure nor anxiety as initial motive.
    It’s more like getting “up to date” with whatever im receiving as message, ranging from personal to business.

    During holidays i can also skip entirely to log on to my inbox, for days or even a week with no feeling that im missing something; and i’m happy to be able to react that way.

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