Tis the Season...for Checking E-mail?

The turkey is in the oven, football is on the big screen, the halls are decked, and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. All of these holiday festivities mean that workers around the world will be on extended breaks from work...sort of. As it turns out, a majority of users will still be checking e-mail on a regular basis.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. A survey from Xobni finds that six in ten American workers admit that they check work e-mail during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday breaks. This survey follows closely on the heels of a study by Egnyte that similarly reported that many users never really unplug from work.

More interesting than the fact that a 60 percent majority plan to check e-mail while on "vacation" is the breakdown of just who is planning to spend personal time over the holidays reading and responding to work e-mails.

The traditional stereotype suggests that users on the East Coast and West Coast are non-stop--constantly busy and in a hurry--while the South has a more laid back, relaxed attitude. Well, not when it comes to checking work e-mail while on vacation apparently. Southerners capture the crown with 63 percent indicating that they will be engaged with work e-mail over the holidays.

While nearly 80 percent of the respondents say they have received work-related e-mails over the holidays, not everyone is happy about it. However, older respondents are less likely to be resentful or annoyed over the intrusion. Only 30 percent of those between 45 and 54 are frustrated by work-related e-mail over the holidays, while those between 18 and 34 have a healthier balance between work and personal life with 56 percent not appreciating work encroaching on the holidays.

A press release from Xobni adds, "The survey also found that 12 percent of respondents actually "dread" seeing work emails populate their inbox and 10 percent even feel pity for those who do send work-related emails on holidays."

There is a small segment of the population, though, that is actually thankful for work e-mail over the holidays. It is a welcome break from the dietary and material excess of the holidays, and provides a convenient excuse to avoid awkward moments with distant relatives, or annoying conversations at holiday gatherings.

Whether you feel compelled to keep working to lighten the load once you return from the holidays, or out of a sense of job preservation, or you are looking for a break from holiday "festivities", or you're just a workaholic pure and simple--try to keep the work e-mail to a minimum. You earned the break, and you deserve to enjoy the holidays. The e-mail will still be there tomorrow.

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