The familiar "ding" of an email landing in a colleague's inbox has become as common a sound in offices today as the ring of the telephone.
But, according to researchers, the speed at which workers respond to a new message provides a fascinating insight into their character.
In a recent survey, experts discovered that email users fall into three categories: relaxed, driven and stressed.
Dr Karen Renaud, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who carried out the research, said that while some people were happy to respond to emails in their own time, others felt compelled into reacting as soon as they arrived and became stressed if they had too many to deal with or were delayed in responding.
Women, in particular, felt more pressure to respond quickly to a new email than men, she said.
"The relaxed group don't let email exert any pressure on their lives," The Daily Telegraph quoted her, as saying.
"They treat it exactly the way that one would treat the mail: 'I'll fetch it, I'll deal with it in my own time.'
"The second group felt driven to keep on top of email, but also felt that they could cope with it. The third group, however, reacted negatively to the pressure of email," she added.
To reach the conclusion, researchers found 34 per cent of workers, who fell into the "stressed" category, felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they received each day and obliged to respond quickly to meet the expectation of the sender.
A further 28 per cent were "driven" email users because they saw them as a source of pressure, while around 38 per cent were "relaxed" because they felt comfortable not replying until up to a week later.