SURVEY SAYS: Starting Your Work Day

PLANSPONSOR NewsDash readers share the first thing they do, besides turning on their computers, when they get to work.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Besides turning on your computer, what is the first thing you do when you get to work?”

More than one-third (36.6%) check emails, while one-quarter (25.3%) grab coffee and/or breakfast. More than one in 10, (11.3%) greet/chat with coworkers, 2.8% change shoes, and 1.4% each chose “check voicemails” and “organize office/desk.”

Among other responses (21.1%), I should have known that not all folks drink coffee, some drink tea (as I do) and some drink water or other beverages. One person makes the coffee first. Some responding readers unlock offices and filing cabinets, and some check their calendars first. Readers also listed:

  • Medicate (I like that one.);
  • Put in my custom fitted industrial strength ear plugs;
  • Stow my lunch in the refrigerator;
  • Start all of my other work programs to get them running before grabbing coffee;
  • Visit the restroom; and
  • (Another good one) Read NewsDash, of course!

Some of those who chose to leave comments about starting the work day expanded on what they do second or even third, and others explained why they do what they do first. One reader offered a hierarchy rule for reading emails. A few described what they do first, rather than including it in the “other” option for the question. I can certainly relate to the comments left by those who telecommute. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I like to ease into my day, not start at a sprint.”

Thank you to all who participated in the survey!


Many times I’m the first one in, and I just that alone time to get my mind organized around the day, depending on what all’s going on. It’s very peaceful!!

I turn on my salt lamp and defuse an essential oil to relax anyone who enters my office.

Retirement is coming!

I’m probably also eating my breakfast and finding my first priority for the day has changed!

Due to now having an open work environment, the first step is to wipe down the work area, keyboard & monitors. Today’s space may have been left dirty by the person who used it yesterday. After that, log into the company’s network. And third, check for any urgent emails.

First I drink the coffee. Then I do the things.

I scan my inbox first to identify any urgent issues. Then, I go back and read emails. I prioritize: clients first; coworkers second; news/new developments third; everything else fourth.

Considering I work at home is this also the day I squeeze a shower in.

I arrive at work much earlier than my peers – it gives me a bit of quiet time to actually begin working on projects that require solid concentration. However I always make it a point to say hello to the night shift employees who are just finishing their shift. That gives them a chance to ask for any HR assistance they might need. Best extra 1.5 hours of the day.

My day doesn’t start until I drink a cup of coffee. More accurately, my brain doesn’t start until I drink a cup of coffee.

First I check emails to ensure there are no urgent issues. After I get through those, I typically will run get more coffee in order to make it through the rest of the morning.

Turn on printer while activating computer from sleep mode

Clearing out all the easy emails is a satisfying feeling. Then I can get something to eat and speak with my coworkers.

I make sure to say hello to coworkers, it’s important to have that personal connection to set the tone for the day. Checking email is a close second, but that can be checked via a mobile device.

I like to ease into my day, not start at a sprint.

Have coffee while checking emails

First thing I do to check email even before I get my 1st cup of tea.

It takes my computer so long to start up that I can walk down the hall, fill my water bottle and get back to my desk before it has finished its log in process!

Coffee is required before reading any emails!!

I’ve been a telecommuter for over 10 years, so emails are the first thing I check. In the old days, when I commuted to work, the first thing I did was change my shoes, then greet/chat with my coworkers. I miss the camaraderie of an office, but LOVE being able to sleep until 5 minutes before I am due to be on my computer!

I feel like the first 1/2 hour of the day after my day starts should still be mine to get organized for the day…the people who come in and speak to people don’t have enough to do….and are morning people…ugh!

Generally, I start by rechecking and adding to my to-do list for the day while reading emails (hence, the adding to my to-do list).

24-hour email means “catch up time” at the end of the day, but now also at the beginning of the day. Ugh.

I’m usually here at least an hour early and the first one here. Sometimes I take care of a few personal business items before I begin my work day, but I usually start with business emails.

I don’t start work until I make my hot tea. Then I’m ready!

I am fortunate to live close enough to walk to work, so I change shoes before making coffee.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.