A trend among global companies that eliminates or limits internal email to employees is a misguided strategy, based on research released today by The Grossman Group, a communications consultancy, and LCWA Research Group.
Results of the 2012 Work-Related Email Perception Study, “Enough Already! Stop Bad Email,” show that while middle managers typically spend 2.5 work weeks (100 hours) a year on irrelevant email, they don’t want their ability to use email taken away or interrupted at any time of the day or night. They do, however, want policies that could help reduce the overwhelming volume of irrelevant email.
For an infographic summarizing the study findings see:
“Defrost the Frozen Middle”: an infographic discussing the cost of email and its affect on middle managers
- Executives (84 percent), middle managers (83 percent), and employees (77 percent) overwhelmingly agree email is an effective and necessary communication tool.
- Only 8 percent of executives, 15 percent of middle managers, and 11 percent of employees said limiting email during normal business hours would be very effective.
- Only 11 percent of executives, 20 percent of middle managers and 13 percent of employees said limiting email outside normal business hours would be very effective.
- Only 3 percent of executives, 12 percent of middle managers, and 7 percent of employees said eliminating email outside normal business hours would be very effective.
“We’ve seen companies around the world experimenting with email black-outs or time-outs,” said David Grossman, communication expert, author, founder and CEO, The Grossman Group. “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 rated some reasons why they want flexibility to access work-related email after hours, including:
- Making sure nothing is missed (52 percent of middle managers, 51 percent of supervisors and 48 percent of employees)
- Preparing for the upcoming day (51 percent of middle managers, 45 percent of supervisors and 47 percent of employees)
“The goal of this research was to better understand how a cross-section of Corporate America feels about email in their workplace and how they use it,” said Greg Gordon, senior vice president, research and strategy, LCWA Research Group.
While respondents said they don’t want access to email interrupted, they do want policies that address the overwhelming volumes of irrelevant emails. Sixty-one percent of executives and 55 percent of middle managers said that email policies would be very effective in their organization.
The web-based survey included 1,300 respondents comprised of corporate executives within Fortune 1,000 companies, middle managers, supervisors and non-supervising employees. For more information:
“Enough Already! Stop Bad Email”: an executive summary of the 2012 Work-Related Email Perception Study findings
- Email traffic jam can freeze middle managment and stall projects (infographic)
- Firms blocking social media access fear security threats and productivity loss
- Mobility seen as greatest benefit of bring-your-own-device to work policies
- Companies not making employees aware of BYOD policies
- Tablets displacing smartphones as workplace device of choice
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