There is simply no way I would believe 21% of "white-collar workers with a smart phone" are checking either their work or their personal email for more than 6 hours each and every day, let alone the 10 hours a day that would be required to offset the about 50% of people who reported checking less than an hour each day.
>Which makes it likely they are filling in their weekly hours, not daily hours.
I disagree. If I look at any one column, it's not hard to make the numbers work out. For example, assume each category is hitting the upper bound (40% are doing 1 hour, 22% are doing 2, etc) - and put 9 hours for the last 10% - you'll get 3.1 hours. Now that is a bit implausible (I took upper bounds of every category).
But going with the other interpretation - only spending < 1 hour per week for the largest group - highly unlikely. In our workplace, a lot of work, sadly, is done through email - 2 hours/day just responding to emails is probably average.
> I took a look at the numbers. The categories are broad. If I check my emails 10 minutes per weekday it is counted as one hour for the purpose of calculating the mean. 62% of the participants report checking work emails in 2 hours or less. IMO there is still enough time to do deep work. Fore average calculation, the last category “more than 6 hours” is assigned “9 hours”. So I think these numbers are skewed.
> I don’t get why anyone would check their personal emails for more than two hours a day. The survey doesn’t say they did so during working time.
So, yeah, it seems like this was deliberately distorted to the point that there's no truth left in it.
Even if they won't admit it, I'm sure some people open their inbox and stare blankly as a subconscious way of taking a break.
Plus, some people do generally have answering email as their job.
Lets face it we tend to do those things through Web interfaces on desktop/laptops or in messaging style apps on phones that tend to look quite similar in layout.
And we need to be clear about the time frame as other posters have mentioned (per day or per week)
On the work based figures, I suspect that people include the time spent on a task generated by the email as 'doing email'. My colleagues certainly would, and a lot of the work related email we get is providing information directly into a rich format email.
This probably accounts for a large chunk of the reported hours, as well.
I lost my window seat a while ago and that's one thing I really miss. I used to look out the window and think. Now I often obsessively check Email or Hacker News.
If I wanted to, I could easily fill my entire day with reading and responding to E-mail. Part of good E-mail hygiene is being able to quickly sort by importance and urgency, responding to the urgent stuff now, getting to the important stuff later, and shit-canning the rest.
I also send (initiate) a lot of E-mail, so it’s not just reading. Again, I could probably spend all day writing and sending E-mails but it’s not scalable and would leave me no time to do my other work. So I have to use discipline and pick and choose and only send the most urgent messages.
It’s easy to lose your whole day to E-mail if you’re not careful.
1. I set up an independent account that only gets wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night alerts.
2. I started automatically filtering all email into different folders.
3. I stopped all email alert indicators except for the wake-me-up account.
Ever since then, I check email when I get to a natural break in other activities. This happens seven or eight times a day, usually, so I'm never particularly far behind.
Or does it include sites such as http://pcottle.github.io/MSOutlookit/ ?
Most software is written for internal company use. In my last job, the software we wrote was used by hundreds of users in my company. No way is the company going to hire tech support people for internal software.
We were very aggressive in ensuring we don't get support questions all the time. We made some of the customers our tech support. Every "domain" of our software had experts amongst our users. So if any user had a question about performing X with our libraries, they were to contact the customer who was an expert in doing X. If he couldn't help, then that expert would contact us. Direct questions to us from new users were just replied to with "Check with the experts first".
This helped a lot in cutting down requests. But most companies/orgs, in my experience, will not be supportive of that type of tech support. We had to be very aggressive in it, and we had the backing of our and the users' department heads.
That said, I don't spend hours on it.
Picture it... Sicily, 1922.
I check work email twice a day at most unless someone says there is a meeting invite I need to accept. I don't accept meeting invites unless I know what the meeting is about and that I am really required to attend. Most of my emails are filtered and all external emails default to the spam folder.
I check personal email a few times per week at most unless I signed up for something that sends a confirmation email. I run my own mail servers and use strings+more to read email and the S25R regex methodology of blocking connections from generic devices.
I am sick of Slack and try to avoid looking at it and the dozen other places my coworkers chat or share docs.
(apologies to Python and the 4 Yorkshiremen) :)