Published June 12, 2012
Workers say they are getting too much email and they want their employers to help rein it in, new research finds. A majority of workers in a survey said they are in favor of their company enacting policies that would eliminate the number of irrelevant emails they receive from fellow employees.
Three-quarters of employees and even more executives and middle managers agreed email is a necessary and effective communication tool. However, the research found that the average middle manager spends more 100 hours a year on irrelevant emails.
The results leave managers and employees wishing for fewer emails but insisting that their access to emails be left alone.
"We've seen companies around the world experimenting with email black-outs or time-outs," said David Grossman, founder and chief executive of the Grossman Group, the communication consultants that conducted the research. "However, our research reveals that's not the most effective approach. We know employees are overloaded by their inboxes and it's causing them stress, yet our research shows it's email misbehaviors that need to be addressed."
Respondents to the survey agreed. Just 8 percent of executives, 15 percent of middle managers and 11 percent of employees said limiting access to email during work hours would be helpful. A similar number said limiting or eliminating emails outside business hours would be effective for curbing email overload.
Most workers said they were against limited email access because it would hurt their flexibility in performing work-related tasks. Half of all workers said the ability to access emails anytime helped prepare them for the next day, while a similar number said they wanted to be able to access emails to make sure nothing was missed while they were out of the office.
The solution to email overload lies in policies limiting the number of emails sent, workers said. In the research, it was found that more than half of managers and workers were in favor of policies that limited the number of irrelevant emails.
The research was based on responses from 1,300 corporate executives, middle managers, supervising and non-supervising employees. The research was conducted by LWCA Research Group for the Grossman Group.
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