Tis the Season to Work - Annual Survey from Xobni Shows Most Americans will be doing Work Email During Thanksgiving and other Holidays this Season

Share Article

79% of U.S. Working Adults Have Received Work-Related Emails on Holidays; 68% of those with Work Email Will Check it on Holidays 19% of people who check work email are “Thankful For the Distraction” or “Relieved” to Receive Email on Holidays Year-over-Year Comparisons Show Gender Gap is Closing - Men are Checking Email Less on Holidays

News Image

Holiday Email Infographic

Nearly 1 in 5 people feel "thankful for the distraction" or "relieved" when receiving an email from a colleague while off for the holidays.

Xobni, the leader in email and contact management, today announced the results from a November online survey conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive among over 2,800 adults. The surveys shows that the majority of employed American adults with work email (68%) check emails during traditional family holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Of these, more than one in four (27%) do so multiple times throughout the day. Additionally, a comparison with last year’s survey results shows that men are checking email less than they were last year (58% in 2011 vs 67% in 2010) and that the gender gap is closing with respect to checking email on holidays.

American workers continue to be inundated with email at work and this latest survey shows that there is no sign of slowing down during the holiday season with 79 percent of those that check email while on holiday stating that they have received a work-related email from a colleague or client on holidays.

The onslaught of work is leading to more acceptance and attentiveness to work on holidays, with less people (37%) feeling annoyed, frustrated or resentful after receiving work-related emails on holidays than last year (41%). The intensity of this feeling appears to subside with age, as 41 percent ages 18-34 shared the above reactions compared to just 17 percent of adults 55+.

On the bright side, many people welcomed the email – in fact, 19 percent of those that ever received work emails from a colleague while off for the holiday even cited feeling “thankful for the distraction” or “relieved.” The survey also found that the draw of work email might just be too hard to get away from. Forty-one percent of those that check work email while they have time off for the holidays believe that staying up-to-date on email eases their workloads once they return from break. One in ten (10%) of respondents ages 18-44 stated that they did so while spending time with friends or relatives at Holiday parties/gatherings or during meals or another “inappropriate” time. Better yet, some (6%) admitted to using work email as a way to avoid awkward family/holiday commitments and ”crazy” friends and/or relatives.

Interestingly, the number of people expecting to receive and check work-related email over the holidays was shockingly similar to the results from the same survey in 2010. The percentage of people expecting to receive work-related email was exactly the same (79%) year-over-year, as was the percentage of people (19%) that felt “thankful for the distraction” or “relieved at receiving work-related email. However, there could be a silver lining to the email madness: Survey data shows that the number of people that expect to check work email has dropped 4 percent (59% in 2010 to 55% this year).

Another notable difference is that it appears we’re closing the gender gap when it comes to checking work email: Last year, 67 percent of men admitted to checking on holidays and 50 percent of women compared to 58 percent men and 51 percent women in 2011. Also on the bright side, less people are feeling “annoyed, frustrated or resentful” about receiving work-related emails on holidays (dropped from 41% to 37%), possibly indicating an acceptance to the “always on” mentality in the workplace.


  •     Although the gender gap is closing, employed males are still more likely to check work email on holidays – 58 percent – compared to just 51 percent of employed women.
  •     Employed middle-aged adults feel the greatest urge, with 58 percent of those aged 35-44 stating that they have checked work emails on holidays.
  •     Attentiveness to work peaks at different ages for different genders. Males peak at ages 35-44 with 63 percent admitting to checking work email, while 56 percent of women ages 45+ admit to the same.
  •     And while the East and West coasts are traditionally considered to be the beating hearts of capitalism in the United States, the survey found that the Southern region led the way with the most people sharing that they check work emails during the Holidays –59 percent (compared to 51 percent for the West and 54 for the Northeast).

Email and contact management doesn’t have to be painful on the holidays – or ever. Resources are available to help you easily connect with people you care about, and be more productive so you feel less compelled to do work email on holidays. Xobni’s new Smartr product line makes your inbox and address book smarter by providing a complete view of all their contacts – wherever you are. Upon download, Smartr discovers all the people you’ve ever exchanged emails, calls or SMS’ with and instantly provides a full view of each contact, complete with their photo, job title, company details, email history as well as updates from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about how Xobni and Smartr helps users take control of their inboxes and address books, go to http://www.xobni.com.

About Xobni
Xobni (“inbox” spelled backwards) is a San Francisco startup that makes your inbox and address book smarter. Xobni, and its Smartr product line, discovers all the people you’ve ever exchanged emails, calls or SMS’ with and instantly provides a full view of each contacts, complete with their photo, job title, company details, email history as well as updates from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Xobni’s first product – Xobni for Outlook – launched publicly in 2008 and the first mobile product for BlackBerry in 2010 – and together have had over 10 million downloads. Xobni is available for Outlook and BlackBerry, and Smartr for Gmail and Android – and soon for the iPhone. Xobni is funded by Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Cisco Systems, BlackBerry Partners Fund, First Round Capital and others. For more information, go to xobni.com.

About The Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Xobni from November 10-14, 2011 among 2,810 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,632 are employed. 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.

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 http://www.harrisinteractive.com.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Terra Carmichael
Email >