Taking It Personal

It's 10 a.m. and your e-mail is overflowing. You haven't viewed the latest airfare sale or the Thanksgiving photos from your brother. Nor have you had time to listen to the music file sent by the guy from the marketing department or even answer your boss's query on last month's cost overruns.

Time flies at work, messages pile up -- and many of them have nothing to do with your day job.

Results of a recent unscientific online survey suggest that about a quarter of the e-mail received on corporate accounts is personal. Almost three-quarters of the 363 corporate e-mail users who responded to the questions admitted they circulate jokes, photos and music to co-workers. And 12 percent said they share music files via their corporate e-mail, even though it violates laws. The survey was done for Mirapoint, a secure e-mail provider, and Radiciti Group, a market research firm.

But plenty of respondents also use their personal e-mail accounts for work. One-fourth send corporate e-mails to their personal account, and almost two-thirds send business messages from their America Online or Yahoo accounts.

E-mail, then, has become like the office -- where professional and personal rub elbows daily.

-- Vickie Elmer