Emails Are Part of our Lives: Accept It and Move On

It is official: emails are here to stay. Chatbots, instant messaging, and a variety of alternatives exist; but email's stranglehold on corporate communications continues.

According to Adobe’s fifth annual 2019 Email Usage Study, there is a 50% chance you will read an email before work, often in bed, during a commute or eating breakfast. According to the white-collar worker study in the U.S., you will spend around five hours a day checking on emails. Three hours on work email and the remaining on personal ones.

We are also refreshing our inboxes across our personal spaces. These include while watching TV, in bed, during work meetings, at meals, while driving – and even in the bathroom.

Resistance is Futile

Not all are email lovers. According to the study, there is a growing resistance to checking work email outside the office. Half of those surveyed said that they don’t check their work emails until they start working.

It is a different scenario when the emails are personal. Twenty-five percent said they first check their personal email while still in bed, while 42% check while getting ready or eating breakfast, 16% check en route to work, and 17% check when they get into work.

Email is as pervasive as social media. In comparison, social media, which has seemingly taken over our lives, is mostly first checked when on a break at work (30%). Not far behind, 26% said they first check while still in bed, 25% check while getting ready in the morning or eating breakfast, 11% check during their morning commute, and 8% check at the office.

Generational Chasm

Who are those who tend to ignore work-related emails when not at work? Often, they are the Baby Boomers. But when the emails are personal, they check it frequently.

On the other hand, 25% of Millennials and Gen X check their work email multiple times a day when on vacation, while one-third do so with their personal email.

This provides an opportunity for marketers and even HR leaders to get contextual when communicating over email.

“Contextual relevance and usefulness are critically important because you need both to deliver value to your customer and without them, you also risk being ignored,” said Sarah Kennedy, Vice President of Global Marketing, Digital Experience at Adobe.