Leadership

Poll: Nearly two-thirds will check email on Thanksgiving, will you?

A new survey says 59% of Americans will check their messages from work on Thanksgiving. Will you be one of them? Take the poll.

According to a survey from Xobni and Harris Interative, 59% of Americans check their email on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two most leisurely of US holidays. Of those who do check their messages, about half of them (55%) will typically only check their messages once during the day, while 28% will check multiple times throughout the day.

Here are a few more interesting facts from the survey:

  • 41% are annoyed or frustrated to see messages in their inbox on the holiday
  • 42% of the message-checkers feel it's important to stay up-to-date
  • 19% say the messages are occasionally a welcome distraction
  • Regionally, people in the South (63%) check their messages the most
  • Men check their messages more than women

TechRepublic would like to know if its US readers will be checking their messages on the Thanksgiving holiday. We suspect the numbers will be higher than the overall 59% in this survey, but we'd like to confirm that.

Of course, we also realize that since this article is publishing on the day of the US Thanksgiving holiday and will be the lead in today's Sanity Check newsletter, the results will likely be skewed toward those who are actually online and checking in. Nevertheless, please take the poll and then jump into the discussion and tell us your holiday routine on keeping up with work. Do you check messages via smartphone or computer? If you go somewhere, do you check beforehand to see if they have Wi-Fi you can use?

Take the poll

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

68 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Of course they do; women should stay in the kitchen. :D Oh, I'm so going to catch it for that one. I haven't looked at my work e-mail since I walked out Wednesday. I may later today, just to clean out any spam; depends on how the NFL games are going.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Men don't (generally), despite long years of repeating experience, realize what they'll find there. So, dumbasses, they go look. Women do (generally) know, which is why they may or may not go look. Depending on what they expect to find.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's because women don't have fantasy football teams to keep up with during the holiday games. My wife is going to slap me all to pieces.

AV .
AV .

I put my out of office message on my email that states I'm not checking voice mail or email and I am outta there (unless there is a dire emergency, where my managers will contact me). AV etu

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Won't even have a computer near. Er... past tense that.

SDsc_rch
SDsc_rch

i'm lucky i guess - i actually LIKE what i do! (what a concept - i know...) so sure, i'm checking email over thanksgiving AND! i'm reading up on tech news and "keeping my head in the game" (also part of my "job") -- including reading this blog!! :)

massagistasorg
massagistasorg

the email several times on my everyday laptop. Then again, I spend the day taking short naps, eating, reading stuff online and playing online games. So naturally since the icon was there, thanks ! diabetes fbf massagem acompanhantes

eccoacre
eccoacre

This is the South here. So, at least once.

ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898
ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898

I checked the email several times on my everyday laptop. Then again, I spend the day taking short naps, eating, reading stuff online and playing online games. So naturally since the icon was there...

contatoar
contatoar

I also checked my email several times ... but nothing ... hugs! diabetes, ar condicionado, acompanhantes

iamanerd
iamanerd

Are you kidding? Email is like eating, you could fast for a day or two, but at the end of it you'll be chowing down. So what was it all for? Only fast if required by your doctor, your body needs its nourishment, multiple times a day. Same with email, check it at least once a day, ya never know what you'll find.

hugh_gautier
hugh_gautier

What with over 160 messages per day, wouldn't you check yours as I do mine. I took three days off from work, without access to a computer and it was a nightmare when I got back. Clients asking questions, service organizations wanting me to give them either my time or money, and then there were the groups of messages [CNET, Device Forge, Kim Komando, NPR, PC Magazine, PC World, Tech Republic, ZD|Net, Zondervan, and not but least Microsoft] that I subscribe to on a regular basis. All of these were waiting on me as well, so if I don't check the messages regulariily I'm swamped and won't get anything accomplished. As a small business owner, I need to stay on top of almost everything, if only to keep the 12 men working for mem active.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Canadian Thanksgiving is just a day off for most. Sure a lot of people have a nice family dinner but it's nowhere near the same massive holiday it is in the US. I check my email on Christmas and all other holidays too, I get emails from family and friends in UK, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Singapore, US etc. I don't check it to find work to do or wonder what's been going on with work though.

Jeff Dray
Jeff Dray

You need to remember that thanksgiving only affects one country this week. For the rest of the world it is business as usual. A bit like the so-called "World Series" which has never graced these shores!

tsmu
tsmu

I have to work any way. I might just as well.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I was off camping. Our campground didn't have wifi, or even cell service. I was off the grid for 4 days. I did charge my cell so that I would be able to use it on the way home. What part of "I work to live not live to work" do some of you not get?

williambridges
williambridges

I would bet that people who work to live are disgusted with their work. either stuck in a cubicle surrounded by the next nerf distraction, or simply find their work unfulfilling. I would rather be one of those people that finds joy in my work, and consider myself living to work. I love what i do and everyone around me can see it. I would have to say that if someone working to live built a house that I would not live under it's roof. And, Yes I check my e-mail multiple times a day, multiple accounts a day, everyday.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but I'm not taking it home or on vacation with me.

williambridges
williambridges

Our age has nothing to do with our pride, our joy, our responsibility, or our commitment. Our source of reading material doesn't justify an outcome in our lives. What does have weight in this world is our words and our actions, and if cited later in life for either of those things, I will take pride in knowing I didn't need justification for work I performed. I didn't need to "clarify" an action I chose to invoke. as a quote "What part of "I work to live not live to work" do some of you not get?" that sentence was designed to invoke a response, if you don't think so maybe you should read the title of this post. And, if you do realize it then "what part of pride in your work don't you understand?" after all, I'm just saying...

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I say then, to you: a person who lives to work - is an ant. And, while English is not my native language, I'm still better at it than you :p

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

has a lot to do with what we live for.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I do speak a little French, not enough to be considered biligual. And while those posts are not samples of my best work, believe it or not, I've been paid to write. But even if English was not my firsat langauge, that is no excuse to attempt a put down based on first langauge. Or do you embrace xenophobia? Let me be clear here. You are deliberately choosing to not see beyond your own simplistic definitions. You cannot conceive that one could at the same time work to live, and have pride, fullfillment and joy in their work. How sad for you. I can chose to both give my 40-50 hours a week to my employer, knowing that I give full measure and value during that time, and at the same time give a full measure of my time to my family. I've spent over ten years supervising people, from server OS people to programmers and project managers. Yes, I've asked people to work overtime, and I've worked overtime myself, in order to meet an important deadline, or resolve a customers problem. But I would not ask people to do that as a permanent state. People who work "permanent" overtime often burnout. I've seen it and dealt with it. I've forced staff to take vacations because they continue to put in hours, their productivity sinks and their mental health deteriorates. I do believe in maintaining a work/life balance. And I do believe that it is also in the best interests of my employer to encourage that as well. You cannot seem to reconsile

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Since you have already done the analysis, I'll say that you are spot on. Taken as a whole, your first post reads that people who work to live are sad and pathetic and take no pride in their work, exactly the way JamesRL read it. And you question language skills while posting sentence fragments, using apostrophes in possessive pronouns, and not capitalizing properly. Such an easy target...

williambridges
williambridges

quote from JamesRL: Your first reply to my post stated you "bet" that people with the "work to live not live to work" attitude were disgusted with their work and didn't take pride in it. When you quote someone, then quote them correctly. I typed and I quote "I would bet that people who work to live are disgusted with their work. either stuck in a cubicle surrounded by the next nerf distraction, or simply find their work unfulfilling." nowhere does this mention lack of pride, it does however mention disgust which would equate to loathing, or a strong dislike. I then go on to define a set of boundaries with wich to play inside; either you have toys to pass the time from one distraction to the next inside of a cubicle or you simply find your work unfulfilling. I would assume people who just have a job because it gives them money would find a reasonable amount of disgust in what they do. However that would be me Betting that people who work to live are disgusted with their work. oh man you caught me... que sera sera. quote from JamesRL: In short, you implied that if we didn't share your attitude, we were inferior beings, leading sad and pathetic lives. Deny it as I'm certain you will, but reread it and tell me it doesn't read that way. well I go onto type and I quote "I would rather be one of those people that finds joy in my work, and consider myself living to work. I love what I do and everyone around me can see it. I would have to say that if someone working to live built a house that I would not live under it's roof." so let me get this straight in my head. If i were to assume/bet people who work to live are disgusted/loath/have a strong dislike with their work, and would not want to live in a house built by someone with that outlook; I then am implying, an ultimatum that if you don't agree with me you are inferior beings, leading sad and pathetic lives. You are correct, I will deny it, tell him what he's won merv... If twisting words is part of your profession then you have an A+ with five gold stars in my book. Have a nice day.

JamesRL
JamesRL

And still not "Live to work". Your first reply to my post stated you "bet" that people with the "work to live not live to work" attitude were disgusted with their work and didn't take pride in it. In short, you implied that if we didn't share your attitude, we were inferior beings, leading sad and pathetic lives. Deny it as I'm certain you will, but reread it and tell me it doesn't read that way. I've had a successful and happy career in IT. I've won awards, gotten many promotions, been recognized on many occasions for contributions above and beyond my work. But I still maintain that I work to live. Because my family comes before my work. If there was an absolute work need to temporarily put aside my family's need for a work emergency, I can and would do so. As I mentioned, I've answered work calls on Christmas day, come into the office in the middle of the night. But to me thats a different situation than having a compellling need to check my work email when I'm at home. I won't say never. But I do believe that one can balance work and home priorities to an extent that you don't neglect the family for work interruptions without a real rational reason. As I mentioned, before I had a family of my own, I did spend much of my free time on work issues, working unpaid overtime, throwing my body and soul into my career. But I'm at a different point in my life, and I don't mind sharing that. I've had some serious family issues in my recent life. And every time a crisis has come up, and there have been several, my supervisors, senior management and successful people all of them, have said the same thing;"family comes first".

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I also understand that I need to take time away from work to relax, so I can maintain the quality of my work. That time away includes turning off the phone and not checking work email. It also includes time for your wife and children, should you have them. Read the lyrics to Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" some time.

SKFee
SKFee

Need a like minded subordinate who would like to work in such a culture?

SKFee
SKFee

If you thought that was a gratuitous violation of the TOS my intention was to show I agree with that thinking not to to relocate! LOL

JamesRL
JamesRL

When I was single, no dependants, I lived for work, and that was fine. Now I have a family. I owe them my financial support. So I do work, and I am not at all disgusted with my work. But I also owe myself and my family some quality family time. I'm certain if I gave them the option, they would turn down a nicer house and bigger allowances if it meant less time with them. No one ever puts "loved his job" on a tombstone. My employer actual promotes life/work balance. People who spend too much time in the office burnout, get sick and become less productive over time. We are very careful to ensure people don't work too much overtime and take their vacations. I sometimes check my work email once when I get home from my hour commute, or once before I leave in the morning, but not often between. I am always available by cell if there is something really urgent.

OakvilleMyKey
OakvilleMyKey

We, Canadians don't celebrate thanksgiving with the same passion as our American friends. For us, we get together with family but otherwise it's not that different from an average Saturday or Sunday. (it's a day off but nothing to get too pumped about)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If all I had to watch with my turkey was the CFL, I wouldn't be too excited either :-)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

favors ditching the traditional Dallas and Detroit games. Instead play a game with two AFC teams, and one with two NFC teams. The winner then hosts Thankgiving games against a rotation of conference opponents until beaten. The new winner then assumes the home game advantage until knocked off.

2rs
2rs

oh!boy!

JamesRL
JamesRL

You can't get by with just a 2 yard rush gain over and over.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But there really isn't much choice. If my teammate gets paged out, and another page comes in, I'm next in line. Or for that matter, if a page comes in for Myrtle Beach, like just now... All of my stores are open for at least part of the day, some of them only close on Christmas Day.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

The industry you work in can have a big impact on this issue. As you're saying Nick, you have to be available because of your work related to retail industry (which is busiest when the majority of the population is off work). The other consideration is people who work with international colleagues that work in different time zones and don't celebrate this holiday at all. To them, this is obviously just a Thursday and they may still be conducting important business or meetings.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

... can have a big impact on this issue." This makes IT not much different from other fields. People in medical jobs who work in hospitals may be on call or on site; those who work in private practices may have the entire weekend off. Me, I'm one of the lucky ones in a manufacturing plant that closes for the weekend.

atthedells
atthedells

Checking on famiy mostly. And responding to posts.

cperry
cperry

I get updates on my phone whenever I get an email. I don't necessarily read all the emails I get (Thanksgiving or not) but I will definitely check the titles to see if it's something worth reading.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

I'm a geek, I check my e-mail during the Macy's parade.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Geeks don't watch the Macy's parade!

2rs
2rs

becuase I watch to find out what's going on in the Big Apple

Redsheep
Redsheep

EVEN geeks watch a parade. We just don't necessarily use a TV.

SKFee
SKFee

Though interesting the poll wont be accurate today! Goes without saying we wont be voting if we are not connected. Cant imagine having access and not checking in. If you use e-mail strictly for work can sure understand the discontent. A good poll might be, "will you shut off your phone today" or "are you working." Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I feel sorry for you. Seriously. I can't imaging having an electronic leash, especially not one I put on myself.

SKFee
SKFee

Thanks, but your pity is unwarranted. Thanksgiving day I found my in-box full of greetings from family and friends, pictures of grandchildren and a comforting word from the HOSPICE nurse taking care of my mom. I look forward to checking on Christmas too. Maybe its assumed that all e-mail is work but the survey didn't ask, "would you check and reply to work e-mail?" The mundane was filtered unless mark urgent for another time. Not checking for me would be the reclusive 1980's equivalent of not answering a knock at the door or unplugging the phone. In case you are wondering I didn't spend the day tied to a keyboard. Upon completion of checking my "electronic leash" I made the traditional trip to grandmothers house to find about 50 others. My hope for all was that they are happily surrounded by family and friends what ever the method.

SKFee
SKFee

I must confess I did answer some e-mail that could have waited until Friday. Best wishes to you both for the holidays. Sincerely, Sam

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Maybe its assumed that all e-mail is work but the survey didn't ask, 'would you check and reply to work e-mail?' " I surrender to your superior position.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Maybe its assumed that all e-mail is work but the survey didn't ask, "would you check and reply to work e-mail?" [/i] In his closing paragraph, Jason writes "...tell us your holiday routine on keeping up with work." I would (and did) check my personal email on a holiday; I check that daily. If I could ignore my work email on holidays and weekends, I would, but my job doesn't normally allow it. Christmas, the only day of the year when all my stores are closed, allows it.

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