Most people would agree that email is essential for almost all聽jobs these days. (We鈥檇 be totally lost without it.) But as amazing as email is, it can also cause a lot of stress. Constantly checking email has been completely normalized in our 鈥渁lways on-call鈥 work culture, and聽in some cases, it can lead to sleep problems and even聽career burnout. So how can we use this incredible tool without making ourselves crazy? Well, the findings of a recent study聽on email habits presented by John Hackston of OPP Ltd. might just help us figure that out.

While there鈥檚 a lot of information about how much we use email (spoiler alert: A LOT), we don鈥檛 have a ton of insight into how different types of people feel about using it, especially at work. For example, we know from past research that introverts tend to have more stress associated with using email at work, but this study took a closer look at how *all* the elements of your personality affect your email habits.



The research focused on personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, which uses four different trait quadrants to determine your overall personality. People either prefer introversion or extroversion (I or E), sensing or intuition (S or N), thinking or feeling (T or F), and judging or perceiving (J or P). So your personality type is made up of a combination of these four letters. This multiple choice test is commonly used in workplace settings聽because it can help employees understand more about how they interact with others.

The researchers surveyed over 350 people who already knew their MBTI types with questions about how many emails they鈥檇 sent and received in the past year, the devices they use for email, and their attitudes toward email in general.


The Results

While there were many intriguing聽findings, some of the most significant ones are super relatable. Extroverts tended to send a greater number of work emails than introverts, and everyone in the study received more emails than they sent. That means you shouldn鈥檛聽feel bad if you don鈥檛 respond to every single office-wide email 鈥 clearly聽most people don鈥檛. Also of note, managers and those in senior-level positions felt that they received many more unimportant and unnecessary聽emails than those in junior positions. So if you鈥檙e unsure if you should shoot your boss an email about something that can wait, maybe reconsider.

Those who identified as N鈥檚 (intuition) were more likely to check their email outside of work hours, although almost everyone who participated in the study admitted to doing so. Interestingly, the people who felt more stressed and less in control, in general, tended to be the ones who were sending the most emails, especially late at night.

The researchers predicted that introverts would be more stressed overall than extroverts, since that鈥檚 what previous research indicated, but this turned out to not be the case. Instead, those who had a preference for perceiving (P) tended to be more stressed than those with a preference for judging (J), which was totally unexpected.

The takeaway

The researchers believe that just by knowing how your personality type affects your email habits, you can reduce your stress level around it. As an example, if you know that you鈥檙e a perceiving type and you feel anxious about an email you received, remembering that you鈥檙e predisposed to feeling that way can help ease tension. You can ask yourself if this is something you should actually be nervous about or if it鈥檚 your instinct to feel nervous about emails you receive. Similarly, if you know you鈥檙e an introvert but you鈥檙e trying to branch out, go ahead and respond to an email you might not normally feel like replying to. It鈥檚 like they say: Knowledge is power.

Do you think your personality affects how you use email? Tell us聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty) 聽