Email is the notorious time waster of the corporate world. Even though it’s an indispensable communication tool for any professional, the sheer number of emails sent and received per day - an average of 124 per employee according to Radicati’s 2015-2019 Email Statistics Report - can easily result in the bulk of your day being spent digging through your mailbox. That’s no exaggeration: the latest statistics indicate that workers spend as much as 61% of their day checking emails.
Taking that into account, it’s clear that we need to rethink the way we use email in the workplace. In this article, we look at the impact of email culture run amok, and what you can do to minimise the amount of time you and your employees spend in the mailbox on a daily basis.
Email clutter is one of the biggest causes of inefficiency in the workplace
Whether you’re taking the time to read and reply to every mail as it arrives or just scanning subject lines, an overcrowded inbox is a serious threat to productivity in your organisation. Each time you or a member of your team stops what they’re doing to skim through their mail, they’re wasting time that could otherwise be spent on more meaningful tasks. Factor in the 23 minutes it takes for the average person to get back to their original task, and it’s easy to see the potential for a productivity crisis.
Cultural changes can take the sting out of this to a certain extent - encouraging staff to send emails only when there’s no other option or forbidding after-work mail, for example, are partially effective - but a more pragmatic solution is necessary to make an appreciable dent in the number of hours wasted on email and sifting through spam.
Solving the problem of mailbox overcrowding: why prevention is better than a cure
In spite of the growing number of instant messaging platforms being used in enterprises - Slack, Skype, Hipchat and the like - and the trend towards built-in messaging features on virtually every app, people are sending more email than ever before. So cultural changes are clearly not the solution in and of themselves. Ironically enough, since most apps integrate with an email account, using apps to shift away from email communication might be making the problem worse.
The most effective solution to mailbox overcrowding is to simply prevent non-urgent mail from reaching your inbox in the first place. With a sophisticated spam filter, it’s possible to block the vast majority of unwanted mails so that members of your team don’t need to wade through multiple emails just to get to the one email they’re looking for. There are other equally valuable benefits too - spam mail can contain malware or ransomware that compromises your security and puts you at risk of data theft, or worse. Large quantities of spam can also use up bandwidth and degrade your network’s performance, causing more productivity bottlenecks and reducing the overall efficiency of your team.
If you’re looking for a way to minimise the impact of spam mail on your organisation’s productivity and data security, take our free IT health check or get in touch directly if you have any questions.