How Much Of Your Work Email Is Work Related?

from the good-question dept

While we’re always skeptical of studies published by security firms trying to sell something, a new report says that 25% of email is personal in nature, which they then combine with studies that say 33% of work email is spam, and conclude that more than half of corporate email is not actually work related. Of course, the real question is whether or not that’s a problem at all? People handling some (within reason) personal emails work shouldn’t be a problem — and spam is a problem that can be dealt with some good filters. So, as long as most people can still handle their email loads, is it really a problem that so much email isn’t work related?

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Comments on “How Much Of Your Work Email Is Work Related?”

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name withheld says:

Easy for me to calculate

When I’m at work, I use two email systems:

  1. The mail server at work, and
  2. GMail.

The reason for this is practical. I have no personal control over the mail server at work, so nothing I send out from my work email address is personal. Since most of my work email is within work itself (email to a colleague or a group of employees), this email address doesn’t even get spammed.

For those rare times that I need to send messages outside work, such as sending a query to my wife (“what will we have for dinner?”), I use GMail. GMail offers me 2+ Gb storage, if I need it, and all my friends know that sending me email to that address will get me whether I’m at work or at home. There are numerous GMail notifiers that work on Windows, Linux, OS X, so that I am aware whenever something enters my mailbox no matter what platform I’m using (Windows at work, OS X at home, very occasionally Linux).

Now, I can look at my GMail activity (All messages) and see that I send out one or two a day during work hours. By the same token, I send out a dozen or so at work. This means that at most, 15% of my emails when at work is personal.

Fortunately, my employer has a lenient policy on web use (feel free to read Slashdot, NY Times, Wired, etc. as long as you manage to get your REAL work done on time), so using GMail isn’t forbidden. Other companies may have different policies, of course.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Easy for me to calculate

Agree with what you said. I use Gmail for all my personal email. I’d much prefer google having access to it than my employer. Not to mention the superior interface and remote management tools Gmail offers.

Anyway, about 95% of my work e-mail is work related… the extra 1/20 being e-mails coworkers send me that arent exactly work. I send about 10 e-mails a day on my work account and 2 Gmails each day…. but I receive about 40 e-mails at work and about 5 at Gmail…. so I don’t know how you’d want to calculate it.

Chris H says:

No Subject Given

I’m in the IT department at my job. When a user is terminated/quits/dies/etc we back up their email account in case we need something in the future. Most of our users have a ratio of 70% personal 30% business usage. My work email is strictly for work. Then again my job pretty much revolves aorund it and it isn’t uncommon for me to seee 50+ emails a day.

We don’t really harp on users too much unless they are abusing it. It would take up too much of our time to try and police it anyway. Want to send a quick note to Grandma? Fine. Just don’t start using it as your Ebay email address and selling all sorts of crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

joe Snuffy, is this a joke?

How can people function without having *all* the email they have ever recieved in an easily searchable place (their email account).

10M of space costs how much nowadays? Something like 3 tenths of a cent I think. How much are you costing the company by making people decide what to keep, saving it off to somewhere else, or inventing their own organization system?

Having all of your historical email available is invaluable. Saving a few cents of storage space is stupid.

And for the record, it is generally the emails from within the company that are large (attached documents). Personal emails will just have an embedded link. (Yes, company emails should just have an embedded link to the document, but nobody ever does it).

LoneWolf (user link) says:

that sounds about right

Well, I get quite a bit of e-mail and I use gmail and since I’m the one who does the IT work around the place I have the corporate e-mail forward to my gmail account which is especially handy since often times I’ll be working on various systems and I don’t need to go back to my personal machine to check my e-mail.

I’ll read my personal e-mail but not respond unless I feel its really urgent and can’t wait a few hours till lunch break or when I get home.

Josh says:

Friendly SPAM

Its not external spam that’s a problem. You can fix that easily enough with a filter. Its the internal CRAP that we constantly get from Human Resources, Management, and idiots too stupid not to understand what the “Reply All” button does. At least two thirds of my email at work is internal spam – the next morale booster (think Hawian shirt day), the current charity HR is begging for, email sent company wide that only applies to one department, daily lunch menus from the cafeteria that I’ll never eat, the daily lost keys/cell phone email, and the person that replies to the whole building telling where they saw the keys/cellphone. I spend more time deleting that crap than actually using my work email for things I’m supposed to use it for.

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