Six out of ten people check e-mail during the holidays, and many find that there are messages from their workplaces. A new poll by Harris Interactive and Xobni shows that a majority of employed Americans (59%) check their work email during traditional family holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of these, 55% check work email at least once a day, and 28% do so multiple times during the holiday.
According the the poll, 79% of those who check email while on holiday say they've received work-related emails. And while many people say they are annoyed by the intrusions (41%), just about as many (42%) think checking email helps lighten their workloads when the holidays are over.
What the study does not address is the extent to which the rise of email over the past two decades has changed American life, not just at work but at home. It's probably safe to say that before 1990, workers regularly received phone calls from bosses and colleagues during the holidays. But they were unlikely to received letters at home from those same people -- other than Christmas cards.
One the other hand, e-readers, PCs, and streaming media can make the holidays more entertaining. The electronic communication revolution has been a mixed blessing, at least when people are home for a break.