Washington: If you want a longer and perhaps more thoughtful reply to your email, send it in the morning on a weekday, according to the largest study of email to date.
The study by University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering researchers also found that men reply to an email about four minutes faster than women.
Though most of us are plugged in 24/7, there are optimal times to send emails, researchers found.
The researchers said that email responses follow a circadian rhythm - people are more active on email during the day than at night.
Furthermore, emails on weekends get shorter replies than weekdays. The researchers found that emails sent in the morning tend to get longer replies than those in the afternoon.
The study also found that 90 per cent of people respond within a day or two of receiving an email to which they plan to respond. The most likely reply time is two minutes, and half of responders will respond in just under an hour.
Age is also an indicator for email response time. Younger people reply faster, but write shorter replies. Teens are the quickest, with an email response time - an average of 13 minutes.
Young adults aged 20-35 years responded on average of 16 minutes of receiving an email and 35-50 year olds tended to respond in 24 minutes, on average. However, those over 51 years of age, on average took 47 minutes to respond.
While there was no major difference along gender lines, one might have to wait about 4 minutes longer for an email response from a woman than an email response from a man.
The platform also plays a critical role: If someone is working from a laptop, on average it will take them almost twice as long to respond than if they were using a mobile phone.
The study also found that more than half the email replies are less than 43 words, and only 30 per cent of emails are longer than 100 words.
The researchers find that in general, users are not able to keep up with the rising tide of emails. As email loads increase, users reply to a decreasing faction of emails.