Email Overload Means We're Never Not Working

A new study by email software purveyor Xobni confirms what we bloggers know to be true, there’s actually no such thing as a day off in the Internet age (Want more visceral proof than an email study? Check out the timestamp of this post).

Information anxiety has pretty much put the kibosh on “time off” as two out of three Americans and Brits check their email outside of regular business hours (ha) and half of Americans email while on vacation (double ha).

The Xobni study, an online survey of 2,200 British and American adults conducted in August, holds that the traditional 9-5 work day has gone the way of the Dodo, due to the fact that Americans and Brits can’t stop checking their email. Apparently we sneak a peak at our inboxes while on vacation, weekends, sick days and even when we are (gasp!) in bed.

The press release blames this behavior on the down economy and the iPhone, but I blame it on the fact that we now live most of our lives online, and we feel compelled to check our email/Facebook/Twitter because that’s where most of the exciting stuff is happening anyways.

More highlights from the study/the life we have chosen:

* The 9-5 work day has gone the way of the Dodo. 72% of Americans and 68% of Brits say they regularly check their email on vacations, sick days, and at home in bed.

* Yes, IN BED. Conveniently for Xobni, work email in bed is apparently, you know, like a thing, with 1 in 5 Americans checking email as the first thing they do in the morning or the last thing they do at night before falling asleep (Again I can personally vouch for this).

According to Xobni, email has become an addiction, and like most addictions it is fueled by peer pressure:

* 27% check email outside of regular working hours because they feel it is expected.

* 26% of Americans feel they can’t handle/overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive during vacation.

Everyone in the world agrees that managing email has become a challenge to our sanity. And various companies are scrambling towards solutions including Google with its recent Gmail Priority Inbox launch and Xobni, obviously. My favorite low-fi way to deal with the bottleneck is a service called which makes it clear to your email reader that you are limited to short responses.

Even though I’m not sure how well that will work, in bed.

Video, vaguely related.

Email overload image above: Ario_