A study by DeskTime has found that more than a quarter of UK office workers, 27.6%, start their workday with email. Although that’s a third of British office workers, the UK ranks behind the USA, where a whopping 40% open email first thing in the morning.
The study followed 900 UK-based office workers over the course of 30 days.
Previous studies have shown that spending time on email is among the most prevalent time-wasters at work, for a variety of reasons:
- Prioritizing email has been shown to reduce employee efficiency. One 2023 study found that employees check email 121 times per day. A University of California Irvine study found that it takes 23 minutes to regain focus after an interruption, including self-inflicted email-checking interruptions. These statistics combined lead to no time for productive work.
- Prioritizing email is also detrimental to employee career growth opportunities. This is due to the fact that reading and replying to emails is in its nature reactive to other’s needs, and thus results in prioritizing others’ demands over pursuing those tasks that bring value and advance one’s own career.
- Fortunately, the UK is in good shape. A 2022 study found that UK office workers spend an average of only 7.32 minutes per day checking email, far below the European average of 18 minutes per day.
The CEO of DeskTime, Artis Rozentals, is a proponent of balance:
“Reliance on email for some has nearly become a compulsion, checking it often and relying on it as guidance for workday tasks. Checking email first-thing in the morning can be a sign of over-reliance on email, but fortunately, does not necessarily mean there is a problem. With most things in life, the best policy is one of moderation, and we see the UK email use statistics reflect this.”
The study identified the top applications that UK office employees open first at the office. The list is as follows:
- 27.6% – email
- 20.7% – web browser
- 12.2% – CRM/BMS
- 15.4% – word processing/spreadsheet
- 6.2% – messaging apps
- 2.3% – social media
- 1.1% – shopping websites
- 14.6 – other
The “other” category comprises video streaming sites, search engines, in-house tools, and other websites.
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