Careers

This is the best time to send an email

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Workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, according to one Reuters survey. Despite dedicating so much time to email, it can often feel like your messages are going unheard.

"People get so much email right now. It's not like when you send one, they are going to read it right away," says career expert Lynn Berger.

In order to increase the efficiency of your emails, experts have tried to pin down a universal answer for the best time to send an email. John Foreman, Vice President of Product Management and former Chief Data Scientist at MailChimp tells CNBC Make It, "in aggregate globally, I would say weekdays tend to be better than weekends and the middle of the day tends to be better, so about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m."

John Foreman, Vice President of Product Management at MailChimp
John Foreman, Vice President of Product Management at MailChimp

Berger agrees that it is best to avoid sending emails over the weekend. "It's not when to send it's when not to send," she says. "I'm not crazy about sending emails over the weekend. If I have something that I am thinking about, I use draft folders, and then Sunday night or first thing Monday morning I'll send."

Beyond this general guideline, things become more complicated. "There isn't one right answer," says Foreman. "The best time to send an email depends on a few things: It depends on what business you're in and it depends on who you are contacting."

Emailers need to think deeply about who they are reaching out to: "Who they are, what job they work, what age they are, if they are a student, if they are in the workforce, what types of devices they use, where in the world they live," says Foreman. "All of those things dramatically affect the best time."

Understanding the daily lives of the people you are trying to reach is key, says Foreman. "If you think about when you engage with your email from day to day, it may change based on what's going on with your life."

Lawyers, he explains, are most likely to open an email between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a weekday. Neonatal nurses, by comparison, might open emails regularly from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. "If you think about it, that makes sense," he says. "Shift workers' schedules are all over the place. Lawyers tend to work these hours that are more typical."

In order to figure out the best time for you to send an email, think about who you are contacting. What does their schedule look like? Do they check email on a phone or only at their desk? Once you have thought about these factors, do what the computer scientists do — test it out. If you need to reach your boss, try contacting her in the beginning of the day one week, then try reaching out in the afternoon the next week.

By experimenting, you can narrow in on what's most effective for you.

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