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How many workers check e-mail on Christmas?

According to a new survey of employed Americans, is it a) 22 percent, b) 44 percent, c) 59 percent?

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This 2006 photo shows Geek Squad agents from Best Buy helping Santa prepare his list with their PDA and laptop computer as they get Christmas wishes from Kylie Tasu and her sister Taylor Tasu (hidden at right) at the Westfield Topanga Mall in Woodland Hills, Calif. More than half of workers check their e-mail during a major holiday, a new survey finds.

Nancy Newman/Ketchum/AP/File

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Don’t be surprised if one or more of your holiday guests this year slips away from the table to log on to a computer or to check their smartphone. The majority of employed American adults (59 percent) check work e-mails during family time during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, a new survey shows. The worst offenders, the survey found, are employed men.

More than half of those who check their work e-mail during the holidays (55 percent) do so at least once a day, the survey reported, and more than one in four (28 percent) do so repeatedly throughout the day. Most of them won’t find an empty inbox; 79 percent of people who check say they have received a work-related e-mail from a colleague or client during the holidays.

Employed males are significantly more likely to check work e-mail during holidays. Two-thirds (67 percent) of them told researchers they checked for e-mail during the holidays versus only half (50 percent) of women. Employed middle-aged adults feel the greatest urge, with 65 percent of those aged 35 to 44 saying that they checked work e-mail during holidays.

And while the East and West Coasts are supposedly the bicoastal bastions of hard-charging capitalism, the South wins by a nose when it comes to checking e-mail during the holidays; 63 percent of survey respondents there said they check e-mail during the holidays, versus 57 percent in the West and 59 percent in the Northeast.

Not surprisingly, according to study sponsor Xobni, which produces a mailbox add-in for Microsoft Outlook, this intrusion of the workplace into the holidays generates some backlash. Four out of ten (41 percent) of workers who have received work e-mails while they had time off for the holidays said that they were either annoyed, frustrated or resentful after receiving the e-mails.

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