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It's the holidays, so let your work e-mail go

Our Netiquette columnists say cease and desist with the inbox refreshing for at least one day this holiday season.
Our Netiquette columnists say cease and desist with the inbox refreshing for at least one day this holiday season.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A recent study shows 59% of American adults check work e-mail during the holidays
  • 10% feel sorry that others are compelled to send work e-mails during the holidays
  • Quickrr has a Chrome plugin called Email Rehab that will help you curb your e-mail habit
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Editor's note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz are the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and book Stuff Hipsters Hate. When they're not trolling Brooklyn for new material, Ehrlich works as news editor at Mashable.com, and Bartz holds the same position at Psychology Today.

(CNN) -- 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a computer mouse. 'Cause y'all are checking your work e-mail on your BlackBerrys under the dining room table.

All year long, we shamble through the work week, zombie-walking to and from our cubicles, our eyes dead and cold like those of that hideous teddy bear you bought for your 15-year-old niece because you're not sure what "kids these days are into." (Hint: She wants an iPhone, fool!)

We are slaves to our computers and mobile devices, forever accessible -- pretty soon those of us in New York City will have zero reprieve from the digital realm, as even the subways will be wired. Oh, how the Missed Connections page will suffer with everyone glued to their smartphones all the more.

Still, every year, we are given a few glorious national holidays during which we are released from our cubicle-forged chains. And yet, according to a recent study from Xobni and Harris Interactive, 59% of American adults check work e-mail during holidays such as Christmas. And of those people, 28% check e-mail several times throughout the day.

The end-of-year holidays are miserable enough -- what with the S.A.D., the forced, ritualistic commercialism, the fact that Santa doesn't exist. (For any kids who wander across this: Just kidding!) Why add to the malaise by logging into Outlook whilst half drunk on eggnog and self-loathing?

So, continuing in our recent vein of resolutions and proclamations (Eradicate the emoticon! Keep your digital promises!), we have yet another challenge for you: Cease and desist with the inbox refreshing for at least one day this holiday season. Your inner child (you know, the one that delighted in Lincoln Logs, not the App Store) will thank you.

Here are three reasons you should log off on your off-days:

You're ticking off your co-workers

According to the aforementioned survey, 79% of adults have received a work-related e-mail during the holidays. And how do you think that 79% of adults felt upon receiving the e-mail in question? Well, a goodly portion felt annoyed (33%), frustrated (15%) or resentful (11%).

Dude, you're already an office-wide pariah because of all those tuna fish sandwiches you sloppily ingest in the lunch room (so fragrant ... ), why add to that derision by pestering everyone about the Robinson report when you should be out sledding or caroling or spinning the ol' dreidel?

You look kind of pathetic

For those of you who can't stand when someone doesn't like you, take heart! Somewhere out there in the snowy night, past the icy, unfeeling stars, resides a small cadre of wind-reddened folk -- 10% of survey respondents -- who feel sorry that others are compelled to send work e-mails during the holidays.

That's a cadre that you can add to the list of aunts, uncles and grandparents who pity you because you still haven't found "the one" and reside with five cats whom you've taught to sing "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful," so that's really cold comfort when you think about it.

(For those of you -- 5% -- who are hunkering down with your electronics and checking e-mail to avoid said aunts, uncles and grandparents, we feel ya.)

You're not really being productive

And to those 42% of you who feel that checking work e-mail on national holidays will ease your workload upon returning to your cube, may we point out a gaping flaw in your logic: You're not easing your workload, you're merely shuffling it around.

Moreover, you're doing it in a highly unproductive way. Think about it: How many folks actually send substantial e-mails during the holidays? Shooting off a missive that says something akin to, "Yes, I agree that we do need to amp up the production of Happy Garden Gnome With Trowel Number 44 -- I'll get right on that on Monday morning," doesn't really accomplish anything. It's merely a way of saying -- annoyingly, as we've established -- "Look! I checked my e-mail! I'm responsible!"

Also, if 59% of people check their e-mail, that means that 41% of people do not, so you do the math as to how many people are actually communicating. You might as well send around that video you made of the singing cats; that's how much value you're adding to the work ethos.

And for those of you who just can't stand to separate yourself from the glowing hearth of your inbox, you're in luck. Productivity startup Quickrr has a Chrome plugin called Email Rehab that will help you curb your habit. Amidst all the stress of spending time with your relatives, this is probably the only detox you'll be able to manage over the holidays.

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

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