Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Email interruption

A while back I did a post on Productivity costs of emails based on the average Australian wage. Since then I’ve come across “The cost of email interruption” which is a short report from researchers at Computer Science Department of Loughborough University located in the United Kingdom. Although the report appears a little dated now some of its observations are still very relevant, like:

 

- It was notable that many of the email messages employees received were not really relevant to for them.This usually resulted from an email sent to all employees.

 

- The common reaction to the arrival of an email is not to delay response to a time that is more convenient to the user but to react within 6 seconds, again almost as quickly as they would  respond to telephone calls.

 

It is amazing when you realize that people actually respond to an email faster than they do the phone. Now multiply that by how emails a day they receive and you get an idea of how bad email interruptions are.

 

Here’s another interesting finding:

 

During the study it was noticeable that none of the employees monitored used message rules within their email application

 

That’s right, none of the employees used message rules to filter their incoming emails! Like most applications we have on our machines these days we have no idea of the true power they provide us. We (and our employers) spend so little time learning how to use the technology tools that we are typically using a screwdriver to hammer in a nail. It does the job sure, just not very efficiently.

 

So what’s the solution according to the report?

 

Introduce training to all staff on how to use email in areas such as, setting email priority, email house keeping with message rules, effective use of the user groups and address books,  constructing better structured emails.

 

and having recognized these issues myself that is exactly the training that I provide. Why? because it is truly amazing how much more productive the whole business (or the individual) becomes when they understand how to use email and their email programs correctly. They are never going to learn this on their own, it something they need guidance with.

 

You can find more information about the email productivity training I provide at www.doemailless.com.