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How You Respond to Emails Matters More Than You Think

Results from a new study will challenge what you think you know about email.


From responding to an email immediately to letting it get to the bottom of your inbox -- everyone has their own way of handling email.

Related: The Best Days and Times to Send Your Email (Infographic)

A recent survey by email solution company Timyo discovered the common habits and beliefs of people when it comes to email. Asking more than 500 full-time employees a series of questions about email, the survey uncovered surprising information about how much time people spend on email, how quickly they respond, how often they use their phone for email and more.

For most people, when they receive an email, they like to respond within the hour, with 49 percent of those surveyed saying that’s the norm for them. Others have a different approach -- 26 percent said they only respond when it’s convenient for them.

Related: Why Won't You Respond to My Emails?

And if you want to catch someone at the right time, it’s probably best to send those emails in the morning. One-quarter of participants said they check their email between 5 and 9 a.m., and another 20 percent between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

To learn more about email mannerisms from around the country, check out these seven insights from the survey.

Gary Burchell | Getty Images

Most people spend an hour or less on email every day.

While email might feel like it takes up most of your day, it turns out that’s not the case for most workers. According to the survey, 35 percent of participants said they spend an hour or less on their email every day. Another 30 percent said they spend around one to two hours. Only 1.6 percent admitted to spending six or more hours on email every day.
Gary Burchell | Getty Images

Most emails people send are not urgent.

Most people are not sending urgent emails that need a quick response. Nearly half of participants said that less than 10 percent of the emails they send require an immediate response.

That's reflected when they're on the receiving end as well. Nearly one-third of survey participants said that 10 percent or less of the emails they receive require responses. Another 23 percent said that less than 20 percent of the emails they receive need replies.

deepblue4you | Getty Images

Most people answer within an hour of receiving an email.

People may not spend much time with their email, but when they do respond, they're doing so in a timely manner. Nearly half of survey participants said they respond within an hour of receiving an email. However, 26 percent said they respond whenever it’s convenient for them.
Hero Images

People prefer to use their computers for email instead of smartphones.

Crafting a professional email on your smartphone can be difficult, so it’s no surprise that most prefer to use a computer instead. Forty-two percent of respondents said they manage 20 percent or less of their emails on their smartphone. However, 13 percent admitted to answering 81 to 100 percent of their emails via their phone.
Shannon Fagan | Getty Images

It’s OK to send emails at night or over the weekend.

Often, sending a work email outside the office can feel strange and maybe a little unprofessional. However, that might just be in your head. Most people (66 percent) said they do not think it’s unprofessional to send emails late at night or over the weekend.
xavierarnau | Getty Images

People want quality messages, not just a quick reply.

While waiting for someone to respond to your email can be a little stressful, it would be a disappointment if you received a reply that was unhelpful. Most participants (63 percent) said they prefer a quality response, even if it means a slower response time, rather than a quick response with more back and forth.
Kelvin Murray | Getty Images

Someone’s email responsiveness is a good representation of their performance.

Turns out, people might be using your email protocol to judge your performance at work. Nearly half of participants said that someone’s email responsiveness is a good representation of their performance.