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Addicted to your Email

16th Feb 2023

How much time do you spend checking emails?

When was the last time you checked your email? An hour, two hours or a couple of minutes ago?

The flood of emails encourages many people to constantly (almost obsessively) check their inbox throughout the day, whether on their way to work, in the middle of a meeting (including Teams/Zoom), having breakfast/lunch – or even on the toilet!

This habit to check and recheck your inbox can be like an addiction. I liken it to social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. We like to know what’s going on, who’s contacting us, who’s replied. Maybe we’re naturally nosey?

It may come as a surprise to some people that email could be considered damaging for your mental health. Email is a wonderfully helpful communication tool and it’s become integral to the business world. Unfortunately, it’s also become so important that people feel pressured (or possibly addicted) to checking email out of work hours. This is often referred to as an “always-on” culture, and it’s incredibly common. The pressure to stay connected at all hours of the day is the most common email-related stressor.

Fast Facts (according to the McKinsey Global Institute analysis):

  • On average, 28% of work time is spent on email
  • We check email on average, 11 times per hour
  • 84% of people keep their email open in the background while working
  • 70% of people respond within the first six seconds after receipt
  • 85% of people respond within 2 minutes after receipt.

According to a study by McKinsey, on average, employees are distracted from work every 10 minutes and regular email checking is one of the main distractions. During the study, working in the office, scientists found that after checking the email, individuals needed 64 seconds to get together and return to the normal working mode.

Email isn’t fundamentally good or bad; it’s just a tool. I would say, make sure you’re using it in a way that supports your productivity, role and health, rather than sabotaging it!

Howard Murfin, Director, HW People

Part of the HW Group, HW People partners with clients to help overcome talent challenges across the emerging leader’s arena, providing a service-led approach and in-depth market insight. If you would like to speak to one of our talent acquisition experts, or find out more about HW People and how we can help you with a search, please get in touch at

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