STUDY: 55% of Americans Check Work Messages in Their Free Time

With the rise of remote work in the United States, work chat apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Chat have become like office water coolers for distributed teams. Teammates use them to discuss work projects and also as places to chat and form relationships.

55% of Americans check work messages in their free time

Work chat apps also present a challenge for work-life balance since they provide access to constant direct messaging with teammates. Americans may even feel work chat apps present more urgency than email. In fact, of the 56% of respondents who have a work chat app on their personal phone, 52% keep the apps’ push notifications on so messages are never missed.

The pervasiveness of work chat apps doesn’t stop there. Of all respondents, 55% admitted to checking their messages in their free time. American workers are checking work messages at all times of day: in the evenings after work ends (88%), in the morning before work begins (71%), on weekends (75%) and while on vacation (36%).

And of those who do, 29% feel the need to reply as soon as possible if someone messages them outside of work hours. Older generations (Baby Boomers and Gen X) are more likely to check their messages outside of work and feel the need to reply as soon as possible.

Workers also monitor each other’s statuses — 29% check coworkers’ chat app status to see what they’re doing (e.g., online or offline, on a call, on vacation, etc.). However, those statuses don’t count for much when it comes to messaging: 53% message a coworker even if they have a busy or away status.

Given all of the above, 18% of respondents felt that work chat apps are too prevalent in their lives, indicating that messaging culture at their workplace is too invasive. Similarly, 18% wish their workplace had more rules or boundaries around work-related messaging.

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