News Feature | July 29, 2014

GFI Software Study Reveals (Disturbing) Trends In Employee Email Habits

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Employee Email Habits

A study of employee email user habits conducted for GFI Software by Opinion Matters, reveals somewhat disturbing trends in habits of employees with regard to email and mobile device use.   

One major finding of the study, which surveyed 500 U.S. workers from companies with up to 500 employees, is that work email is eating into the personal lives and downtime of employees, with 44.8 percent admitting to checking work email at least once a day in their personal time, while 40.4 percent admit to checking multiple times or in real-time through pre-work mornings, evenings, weekends, and days off. With the recent surge in mobile device use — including tablets and smartphones and the growing Internet of Things (IoT), casually checking work email on personal time has become harder to resist. Some employees, 28.6 percent of those surveyed, have even risked company email security by connecting their device to public Wi-Fi hotspots while away from work.

Employees using their email boxes as storage facilities is another dangerous trend. “Email is not just a critical business communications tool, but as the data shows it is relied on — perhaps too much — as a virtual filing cabinet and storage repository,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager of the infrastructure business unit at GFI Software. “This kind of approach can all too easily breed an ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ attitude towards email safety, security, and backup, which is dangerous ground for any company to be on given the value of the data tied up in an organization’s mailboxes and the disruption that is caused when just one user suffers email disruption, let alone the whole company.”

In light of these findings, VARs could consider providing solutions and services to their clients that enable employees to be more efficient at work — which may mitigate the need to check work email on personal time — and keep their data secure when it is necessary for employees to check work email away from the office. Providing alternatives to “using email accounts as storage” could also be of benefit.