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Mixpanel Trends: Which U.S. Cities Are the Most Work-Addicted?

Surprise? People in major metropolitan areas aren't necessarily as addicted to their work as the average American.

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The figure of the American work addict is alive and well. But how much of that is myth? We decided to shed a little light on some of the the hardest-working cities in the U.S., by looking at how many unique hours per day people spend engaging with enterprise software.

We used Mixpanel to measure work addiction across America, and found that about 31 percent of Americans engage with enterprise software for just two hours every day, and only about 10 percent are using enterprise software for more than eight hours — making the work-addicted a small, if SaaS-loyal, cohort. So, what does addiction to enterprise apps look like on a city-by-city basis?

As it turns out, city dwellers may not work as hard as they think they do — and San Francisco is no exception. The majority (around 60 percent) of San Franciscans are using enterprise apps for two hours every day — almost twice the national average for this time frame. While 15 percent of people are using enterprise apps for more than seven hours a day across the U.S., in San Francisco the work day seems to close out after that seven-hour mark. Unique to San Francisco is a bump at the 11-hour mark; a small but dedicated cohort is using enterprise apps for nearly every waking hour. (Whether this is correlated with the number of entrepreneurs remains to be seen.)

San Francisco has a mean salary of $62,680 — the second-highest of the five cities in this report — and an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. (Oakland, by contrast, has almost a 12 percent unemployment rate). San Francisco also boasts the second highest GDP per capita, just after Washington, D.C.

Given that San Francisco is the center of the tech industry right now, this is all a little surprising; we expected to see a longer tail for frequency of enterprise use. (Perhaps people are too busy writing enterprise software to use it.)

In New York (unemployment 8.9 percent; annual mean salary, $56,940), frequency of use — when it comes to enterprise apps — is distributed more logically. New York City has the largest regional economy in the U.S., and at the heart of it are the financial, healthcare and real estate industries (to name but a few). In New York, about 30 percent of people use enterprise software for between four and six unique hours daily; this is lower than the national average, but still more of a hustle than San Francisco.

Times are a little tougher in Philadelphia — the unemployment rate is at 11 percent, and the annual mean salary is around $50,710. Philly is also ninth on the list of GDP per capita; the average GDP per capita is 80 percent of what it is in San Francisco. The former manufacturing hub is now an IT- and service-based economy, to say nothing of the fact that Philadelphia is also a university town.

Engagement with enterprise apps in Philadelphia doesn’t look like any other city: While most other cities have graphs that follow a path of steady drop-off, in this case, there’s a steady decline and then a significant bump midway through the workday. There’s also a small but dedicated percentage using enterprise apps between seven and 10 hours every day — a longer and more consistent tail than any other city in this report.

Of all the cities to have a straightforward eight-hour day, Washington, D.C., makes a lot of sense. Around 30 percent of workers in D.C. are employed by the government; aside from the 40-hour work week being standard for most government workers, enterprise software just may not be as central to the workflow as it is in other industries. The annual salary in D.C. is $64,690; the metropolitan area has the highest GDP per capita, though it is the fourth-largest regional economy in the U.S.

Usage patterns in Los Angeles suggest that the workday is longer for some Angelenos than it is anywhere else, with a solid cohort of people checking in on their enterprise apps between seven and 11 hours every day. Given that the main export in L.A. is entertainment, one theory we have is that Angelenos need to stay apace with their New York counterparts, so the day stretches out to accommodate the three-hour time difference. This is interesting to consider, given that the average annual salary in L.A. is $51,990, which falls solidly between Philadelphia and New York, which both have slightly shorter time frames during which people are most frequently engaged with enterprise software. L.A. also has the second-largest regional economy in the U.S., just after New York City.

Anecdotal evidence of work addiction is everywhere, whether it’s the tech worker using her laptop on the subway at 7 am, or the EDM fan checking his work email while in line for the bathroom at the club. What’s particularly notable is that people in major metropolitan areas aren’t necessarily as addicted to their work as the average American — in many cases, urban workers are less addicted to work than Americans as a whole. Also relevant is that the patterns of addiction to enterprise software are likely industry-specific — take the difference between usage patterns in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, for example. While the eight-hour workday is alive and well in some American cities, work remains an around-the-clock affair for some urbanites.

Suhail Doshi is the co-founder and CEO of Mixpanel, an advanced analytics platform for mobile and the Web. More than 1,800 mobile apps and websites use Mixpanel to analyze more than 17 billion actions every month. Follow him @suhail.

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