People Are Weird About Email

How office workers spend nearly a *full day* of their work week and what they think about it.

If you type it, someone may or may not read it. That’s one of the interesting — if uncomfortably familiar — finds of a new survey about office workers’ use of email. The research comes from the jobtech juggernaut Slack, along with the market research firm OnePoll. Here’s what Slack did: A “random double-opt-in survey” of 8,000 respondents between August 11 and 31, 2023. The respondents represent “a mix of in-office, hybrid, and remote workers who send/receive emails as part of a small business of fewer than 200 employees.” Of course, the point of the survey is to highlight the efficiency of Slack. Still the information reveals some interesting details about the communication task that’s become synonymous with almost everyone’s workday. And here’s what respondents said:


Respondents draft 112 emails a week, spending just more than five-and-a-half minutes on each.

Only 36% of emails they send are fully read and understood by the recipients.

And even when they do get responses:

62% say it’s common to not get their questions answered

51% are addressed by the wrong name

49% are asked a question they already answered directly in the same email

A Cyclical problem 

57% of respondents admitted that if an email is “too long,” which they defined as eight or more sentences, they don’t read the whole thing.

Eight times a day, they’ll just delete (or not read) an email based solely on the subject line. 

57% of the survey respondents feel bogged down at work because of menial tasks, the top three of which are:

1. Filtering irrelevant emails (51%)

2. Responding to emails (47%)

3. Finding internal information they need to do their jobs (38%)

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