Information workers becoming ‘Inbox workers’ as reliance on business email grows

New research from Mimecast finds that the role of the inbox is changing as users spend more than half their working day using email

Information workers’ reliance on email is turning them into ‘Inbox Workers’ who spend the majority of their time on email and shun social media at work, according to new research launched today by Mimecast®, the leading supplier of cloud-based email archiving, continuity and security for Microsoft Exchange, Hosted Exchange and Office 365.

The research – the second in Mimecast’s Shape of Email series – surveyed 2,500 information workers in the US, UK and South Africa to explore the average employee’s attitudes to, and frustrations with, email. The report found that on average an information worker will use email for four hours per day; equivalent to more than 37 full 24-hour days over a working year, 111 working days, or 888 working hours.

However, users are also frustrated by the limitations of email. Just one in four users report high levels of satisfaction with their email functionality and one in three expect email and social media to converge in the next five years.  It is clear that email needs to evolve if it is to cope with the demands of modern day Inbox Workers, who see email not just as a communications tool but as a file store, search engine and a collaboration platform.

So, what is an Inbox Worker? And how can you tell if you are one? Here are a few tips:  

You use your inbox as a default file server and search tool – No longer just a tool for sending and receiving messages, an Inbox Worker’s email account is their default way of storing, filing and searching for documents or information:

Your use of work email has been unaffected by social media – Inbox Workers use social media, but it is primarily for personal use. The rise of social media has had little impact on their reliance upon work email:

Your love of email can lead to bad habits  – With Inbox Workers relying on email for so much of their working day, their dependence can give rise to bad corporate behaviour:

You like to be kept in the loop – Inbox Workers like to be copied on emails, even if they are non-essential messages:

Also, IT teams overestimate the impact of social media on email usage:

“The research shows that the way the average employee uses email at work has changed,” commented Peter Bauer, CEO and co-founder, Mimecast. “For many people, email is no longer just a messaging system. It has become the primary tool for storing, sharing and searching for information. This is why we are seeing information workers increasingly becoming Inbox Workers; they rely on email for all aspects of their job and spend, on average, 50 percent of their working day using email.”

“What is clear is that, despite the huge number of specialist collaboration and social tools that have come to market in recent years, email remains the first choice for the majority of business users,” Bauer continued. “While email is not perfect, it seems that information workers are reluctant to adopt other, more social, tools if it means they have to leave their inbox behind. Therefore, rather than trying to entice users away from email and on to other platforms, IT teams should look for ways to make their email more efficient by introducing new, inbox-friendly collaboration tools and making the data stored within the archive more accessible.”

 For further information on Mimecast’s Shape of Email Report, please visit: www.mimecast.com/shapeofemail

About the research

The research surveyed over 2,500 information workers from the UK, USA and South Africa. The research was conducted by Loudhouse on behalf of Mimecast in Summer 2012.


About Mimecast

Mimecast (www.mimecast.com) delivers cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange, including archiving, continuity and security. By unifying disparate and fragmented email environments into one holistic solution that is always available from the cloud, Mimecast minimizes risk and reduces cost and complexity, while providing total end-to-end control of email. Founded in the United Kingdom in 2003, Mimecast serves more than 6,000 customers worldwide and has offices in Europe, North America, Africa and the Channel Islands.

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