You Spend More Than 5 Hours Each Week Checking Your E-Mail

August 21, 2018, 6:03 PM UTC

Slack is no match for e-mail—not yet, anyway.

In a survey of more than 1,000 “white-collar workers” across the U.S., people reported checking their e-mail an average of 2.5 hours each weekday. The average person checks work e-mail more than three hours each day, according to Adobe, which conducted the survey.

The news comes as real-time communication services like Slack and others aim—overtly or otherwise—at waging war against the tyranny of e-mail. Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others, provide an easy way for people to communicate and exchange files synchronously. Such tools generally allow for quicker communication than e-mail, which was designed as an asynchronous communications service. Judging by Adobe’s findings, Slack and its peers have yet to make a measurable dent in how we communicate.

What that says about us, versus the tools, is an open question.

According to the report, e-mail is most popular among people between the ages of 25 and 34—today’s Millennial generation, roughly. That group spends an average of 6.4 hours in their Inboxes each day, compared to 5.8 hours for those between the ages of 18 and 24.

For the first time in the three years Adobe has conducted the survey, e-mail isn’t the sole most desirable way to communicate with colleagues. Instead, face-to-face conversations are tied with it as the top communication method at work.

When it’s time for tough conversations, though—like quitting a job—face-to-face conversations have lost some ground. Just 52% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 say they would use a face-to-face conversation to quit a job. That number jumps to 77% among those over the age of 35.

Finally, Adobe asked respondents which common e-mail phrases they can’t stand. “Not sure if you saw my last e-mail” was the “most annoying phrase” for work e-mail, followed by “per my last e-mail.”