Always on: 7 in 10 say they’re open to answering work emails after hours

NEW YORK — Are you always “on the clock”? You’re not alone. Seven in 10 Americans admit they’re likely to answer after-hour work emails or messages.

A survey of 2,000 office employees looked at the benefits and detriments of always being “logged on” for work and reveals that 70 percent actually appreciate receiving work notifications at any hour of the day.

Results also showed that more than half of respondents have their work emails connected to a personal device (58%). While 70 percent of respondents who work from home say it makes them feel like they have to be available at all hours of the day, three in four believe it’s given them the opportunity to work at a pace more suited to their needs (76%).

The pros of remote work

Commissioned by Zimbra and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found that 40 percent feel more productive when working on their own time as opposed to meeting deadlines (22%).

More than half of Americans say their work tasks are time-sensitive (56%), but 72 percent feel technology, like laptops and phones, gives them the freedom to choose when and where they work. Another 69 percent say that they’re able to answer emails faster than ever with the help of modern technology.

They also noted that other parts of the job, like communicating in real-time (34%) or being available to their colleagues and clients (33%) is also more feasible through technology that allows them to work in and out of the office. Just 11 percent of respondents who work from home log off from work by 5 p.m., while a whopping 90 percent admit they’re signed on until later. However, people are also more likely to take at least three breaks a day at home compared to in-office, averaging about 15 minutes at a time.

When asked to name their ideal work schedule, respondents shared a variety of responses, like working “remotely with full flexibility of my work,” “whenever I want to meet my production,” or as specific as “8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.”

“Work environments have forever changed,” says John Eastman, vice president of business development at Zimbra, in a statement. “The flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time, and from any device allows employees to manage their own work on their own time and is key in achieving productive enterprise collaboration in the modern digital workplace.”

Still, 72 percent would still rate their work-life balance as “good” or “excellent.”

Ready to work, any time, any place

People shared their reasons for working after-hours, including the good feeling that comes from being on top of their work (48%), they’re working towards moving up within their company (47%), or because they don’t like to leave things unfinished (45%).

This may be why the average person answers work emails 12 minutes faster than personal ones. Nearly all respondents also agreed that technology has helped them improve their work-life balance (82%).

Some benefits of being able to access work through tech are easier communication (40%), flexible times (39%), or having access to resources (38%). While 58 percent believe they’re just as organized when working at home or in-person, 89 percent believe technology has the biggest impact on keeping them organized for work.

“The flexibility and freedom of choice provided by modern technology enables us to be notified of work issues as they arise,” says Gautam Ramachandran, director of channel management and solution advisory at Zimbra. “While this may appear to be disruptive, having the ability to respond quickly removes the anxiety and stress of pending issues and allows us to have a more enjoyable work-life balance.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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