The Average Worker Has 651 Unread Emails in Their Inbox

At Pure Property Finance, we’ve been working hard to improve our communications processes for the finance services we offer our clients, and improve workplace wellness. But, before we take any action, we wanted to get to the nitty-gritty of your inboxes to find out what common bugbears appear and how they can be avoided.

Gmail logo on an iPhone screen

With this in mind, we’ve conducted a nationwide study into workplace comms and its overwhelming influence. Is it healthy? Are we slaves to our emails?

Here is what we found.

Spoiler Alert! People Are Failing to Keep on Top of Their Emails

Our study of 1,500 people found that as many as 16% of workers claim they constantly fail to keep on top of their emails, with 43% saying they are unable to get through their inbox in one day. In fact, 30% claim they are losing sleep because of the sheer weight of work mail they receive each day.


Do you struggle to keep on top of your work emails?



Does the size of your work emails inbox ever make you feel stressed and anxious?


We found that the average worker has an average of 651 unread messages in their inbox, with 12% checking their inbox first thing in the morning and last thing at night. One in ten have got into a row at home by replying to work emails when they are meant to be at home relaxing.

Overall, 51% of those surveyed admit they have missed emails because their inbox was too full, while 17% have deleted emails that they’ve never read. Furthermore, busy workers send 24 emails to the wrong person every year.

Nearly 8% have had a serious disciplinary issue because of a missed email, 6% admit they’ve cost the company money for the same issue, and 3% have even been fired because of the mail they overlooked.


On average, how many work emails do you receive every working day?


6% admit to having sent a sarcastic email and having it misread, while a further 4% admit to having sent an email direct to the person they were talking about. A mortified one in 50 have accidentally sent racy images of themselves to clients or colleagues.

Over a third of us (36%) have fired off angry emails only to regret them once we’ve calmed down. And exactly a third have had an email argument with a colleague which they believe could have been solved if they had just talked face-to-face.

Jade Thomas, Office Manager here at Pure Property Finance, has commented on our survey findings. She said:


“This research shows how emails can be overwhelming and ultimately, take over an employee’s life. It often stops people from doing their daily job as they’re wasting too much time hunting through their inbox and replying to emails that can always wait.

“We encourage members of staff to close their inbox for a few hours a day and to focus on their activity. This helps employees be more productive and minimise stress. If something was that important, then the office number is in every employee’s sign-off.”


Our research also delved into the email etiquette that we hate most of all and overfamiliarity was the most heinous offence, with 44% of people saying they feel that putting “xx” at the end of work emails was unprofessional.

Furthermore, 22% said they hate receiving emails with kisses on as they feel obliged to reply with an “x” too. One in five people simply find them annoying and inappropriate.


Do you ever put kisses on your work emails?


Do you ever ‘lose’ emails because your inbox is so full?


That was followed by sending emails without proofreading first (32%), emoji abuse – by sending smiley faces (29%), which was surprisingly seen as more of a faux pas than getting the name wrong of the person you’re emailing (28%).

If you want an email read, you should send it to Plymouth as the city is email control capital, where residents are most on top of their emails, with an amazing 48% having a clear inbox at the end of every day.

At the opposite end of the scale, Londoners have the most unread mails with 956, compared to people in Nottingham who only have 295 – the lowest number of emails on average.

However, the problem may get easier as you get older as 16 to 29-year-olds have 896 unread mails, compared to just 327 for the over 60s.


How Full Is Your Inbox?

Join the conversation over on Twitter and LinkedIn, and let us know your mail peeves and top tips for comms success.

Article By Tom Rowlands

May 15th, 2020

Tom joined Pure Property Finance in 2017 after a career as a Client Wealth Manager, where he spent just under 3 years advising on financial and tax planning. Tom specialises in bridging finance and property development funding, having completed deals ranging from a simple £30K property purchase through to £2m+ mixed-use developments.

See more articles by Tom

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