Time-consuming, inefficient and a distraction. That is just some of the words email is associated with these days. When email first arrived back in 1965 it had a purpose to speed up communication across the world in a completely new and efficient way. Now, time has changed and what used to be a helping force is now commonly known as a time-consuming villain.
Too much time spend on email
In 2012 McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp discovered that the average person spends over one-fourth of their workweek interacting with their email accounts – reading, writing and responding, pulling employees away from their work tasks and thereby making them distracted and stressed.
Several companies have taken the above data into account by setting up different restrictions for their employees. Atos, a French IT service, has successfully banned internal emails and Volkswagen has agreed to stop sending emails after work hours, to help employees manage the number of messages they receive.
But not everyone seems to think that this is the best way to handle the issue. Productivity experts David Allan, consultant and author, and Bob Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, counsel against such drastic measures, claiming that email is certainly a threat to efficiency but is still an essential work tool because of it’s mobility. Although they do agree that something has to be done and that it is for the individual to regain control over one’s email.
To do so, it is all about looking at what causes the problem, which lays within the mentality of sending and receiving emails today. Many mistreat their inbox and allows the email flow to take over, which leads directly to an email overload followed by a day full of distractions, stress and inefficiency.
What to do?
Many things can be done to regain control over one’s emails. The two productivity experts’ recommendations are clear: Answer incoming emails as soon as possible to keep the inbox from being overloaded, clean up the inbox by using folders to systemise your emails and start deleting emails that are not important to you as soon as you receive them. That sounds quite simple, but for shipping executives who spend all day receiving and sending a massive amount of emails, it can be a handful doing so all day. In such situations the individual cannot solve the problem: The company, on the other hand, can.
Let an IT system handle the problem
But how can the company solve the problem? In case of high volume email environments, a solution is to have an IT system to help filter and systemise emails automatically. When it comes to a massive amount of unorganised emails, Nordic IT helps manage inboxes of shipping individuals all over the world, making it easier for the industry to take back control of emails, without individuals having to solve the email problem themselves: In this case MARK5 solves the problem instead.
To sum up: Email can be a time-consuming villain for companies that allow it to be. But as in the early days it can still be a helping force. All it takes is for companies to start taking responsibility and provide their employees with the right tool to regain the control of emails.
Going forward, it is impossible to say how the future might look regarding email overload. But one thing is for sure: Innovative IT solutions will without a doubt play an important role in helping companies minimise the problem. At the same time the amount of information exchange will keep increasing – so to keep up with this and stay efficient we will need great IT solutions.