New Survey From Xobni on Email Overload Shows There Is No Such Thing as a Day Off for Americans and Brits

Nearly Two Out of Three Americans and Brits Do Email Outside of Regular Business Hours; Half of Americans Email While on Vacation

Sep 02, 2010, 08:00 ET from Xobni

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Xobni, the creators of a popular Microsoft Outlook add-in that helps people more effectively manage their email and business relationships, today announced the results from an August online survey conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive (in U.S.) and Opinion Matters (in UK) detailing workers' views on work email. The surveys shows that the typical 9-5 work day no longer exists as workers in America and the U.K. regularly check email outside of normal business hours, including on vacation, weekends, sick days and even when they are in bed at home, in order to stay on top of their over-flowing inboxes.

With the down economy and the advent of mobile email on smartphones, workers are overwhelmed with email and feel compelled to work longer hours to keep up with their jobs. The survey found that roughly two out of three Americans (72 percent) and Brits (68 percent) who check their email outside of regular business hours do so while on vacation, when they are taking time off, on a weekend and/or on another non-work day.  But the two countries are far different when it comes to sick days: 42 percent of Americans who check work email outside of business hours shared that they check emails when they are home sick compared to only 25.8 percent of British professionals checking their email while out sick.  Working men in America are guiltier of emailing during off hours with 65 percent of those who have work email sharing that they do so versus 51 percent of their female counterparts.

Workers now feel more compelled to check email outside of work to keep up and advance their careers. More than one quarter (27 percent) of Americans and a fifth of Brits (20 percent) who check email outside of business hours do so because they feel they are expected to provide quick responses, even outside regular business hours. Additionally, 37 percent of Americans, are afraid to go without checking their email because they might miss something important compared to 45 percent who have the same worry in the U.K. Many Americans who check work email outside of regular business hours (43 percent) do so in order to ease their workload and 18 percent feel the need to check email outside of work hours in order to have a successful career.  Neither U.S. nor British workers emailed outside of regular business hours to impress their boss/colleagues with a mere 5 percent admitting to doing so.

Business in Bed

Business professionals have become so overwhelmed with email that they are bringing email to the bedroom. In fact, one in five Americans (19 percent) who check work email outside of regular business hours cited that they do work email either before they get out of bed in the morning or while in bed before they fall asleep at night. Brits seem to respect the bed only a bit more, with 14 percent prepared to check work email.  Of this group, American men are more likely to check email from bed with 21 percent stating that they do so compared to just 16 percent of their female counterparts. The survey also shows that checking email while in bed has a generational basis  as American adults who check work email outside of regular business hours ages 18-34 are twice as likely to do so than adults ages 35-54 – 31 percent compared to just 15 percent.

Vacations Don't Always Lead To Relaxation

Half (50 percent) of American professionals who check work email outside of regular business hours cited they checked work email while on vacation/have time off compared to only 29 percent of people surveyed in the UK. Upon returning from vacation, 26 percent of Americans who take vacation/time off of work either feel they get too many emails to respond to all of them, or are too overwhelmed by the volume of emails upon returning from vacation compared to a whopping 86 percent of Brits.  Additionally, 18 percent of U.S.  adults who take vacation/time off from work feel they have a hard time actually being productive after returning from holiday.  

Tools and Tips to Solve Email Overload

There are several resources and tricks available to people that will help them be more productive and efficient so they feel less compelled to do work outside of regular business hours, and ultimately feel less overwhelmed. For example, email add-ins such as Xobni ( can help people take back control of their inboxes whether after vacation, or simply to manage the daily inflow of emails to their inbox.  Internal surveys show that the average Xobni user saves 45-60 minutes per week by using and searching with Xobni.  Benefits of Xobni that helps overwhelmed workers includes:

  • Lightning fast email and people search.  Xobni automatically creates a profile for every contact in a user's inbox, helping them to quickly find information and emails exchanged, meetings scheduled, links or documents shared with business and personal contacts.
  • Integration of relevant third party data, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Salesforce, in to your Outlook inbox eliminates the need to leave email to find information needed to be most effective.  
  • Emails are threaded so you  can see the complete conversation reading multiple emails related to the same topic.

To feel less stressed after returning from vacation, people can also do simple things before leaving such as:

  • Sending calendar reminders to their closest contacts reminding them that you will be away
  • Include an alternate contact in the Out of Office (OOO) message to ensure  those emailing get the assistance they need while you are out instead of requiring work from you upon returning from vacation
  • Set up different OOO messages for people inside your company verses external contacts
  • State in this message the date of your return so people with important matters know when they can reach you in the office.  
  • Quickly get caught up on the most important matters by doing a Xobni search on key colleagues (boss, direct reports) to see all communication, attachments, links, etc. shared with those people while you were out.

For more information about Xobni and how it helps users take control of their inboxes, both on their desktops and smartphones, go to

About Xobni

Xobni ("inbox" spelled backwards) is a San Francisco startup that brings together your individual exchanges with social media content to provide a complete view of all your contacts in one place.  Xobni's contact management products offer lightning fast email search and organization of your inbox, as well as an innovative and comprehensive address book for the mobile device. The technology emerged from a Master's project at MIT in 2006, and has been downloaded almost 5 million times since it launched publicly in May 2008.  Xobni's first mobile product was developed for the BlackBerry and launched in March 2010. Xobni is funded by Khosla Ventures, Cisco Systems, BlackBerry Partners Fund, First Round Capital and others. For more information, go to

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About The Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Xobni from August 5th to 9th, 2010 among 2,200 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Terra Carmichael.


Terra Carmichael


Samantha Murillo on Behalf of Xobni