Business Email: Why Your Response Time Could Be Hurting You


When this press release passed my desk, I couldn’t turn it away. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t get back to me via email. I send out an email, I expect to get an answer pretty quickly.  I mean, we do have mobile phones, tablets and portable laptops so we are connected 24/7.  So why should it take long for someone to return a message?

A new national study shows that 52% of people expect you to respond within 12-24 hours to your work email — according to a study by

Just how much do people wait to answer personal versus business email – and is your response time hurting you at work?

To find out, MailTime — an app makes email on your smartphone more like text messaging — studied a sample of 1,500 men and women to evaluate email response etiquette.

Here’s what they found:


  • Most people expect you to answer work emails within 24 hours (52%)
  • 19% of people expect you to answer work email within 12 hours
  • Almost no one tolerates you answering biz email within one week (3%)


  • People are more forgiving with personal emails; most expect you to answer personal emails for up to 2 days (60%)
  • 10% are okay with your personal email response time being one week