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Ever wonder how much time is spent on emails? The answer might surprise you…


68 per cent of bosses spend more than two days out of a given week reading and responding to emails.

Let that simmer for a moment.

Okay, now that you’ve wrapped your head around that statement taken from research recently completed by Sydney employment law consultancy, Employsure, allow me to wrap you over the head with a few more jarring stats from the report. (You know you love the abuse!)

Emails: help or hindrance?

Of that 68 per cent majority, 72 per cent say that they feel all that email checking and responding interferes with them doing their actual jobs. Nine out of ten managers say they check email from home. Tisk, tisk – what about that work/life balance we hear so much about these days?

Edward Mallett, managing director of Employsure states “Emails are supposed to help but they deter people from getting their job done. Turn off the email, pick up the phone or even better meet someone face to face, this in my opinion, is much better communication. It is much easier to pick up a phone and make a request then to send a string of emails back and forth until the original message gets diluted.”

“The simple act of getting up from behind a desk and speaking directly to staff can be a very effective and efficient form of management. People are less used to getting praise directly from their bosses, and regular interaction can only be a good thing. Be careful though, try to keep a record of these communications to avoid deadlines being missed and coming back to haunt you at a later date.”

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

So, Mallett’s assertions lead us to wonder: does the reduction of business dialogue to email lessen the value of importance of what is being said?

Let’s face it, many of us find our emails being ignored more often than we’d like – perhaps even more so than they are actually replied to. Rather than looking at this as a symptom of our being ineffectual with writing, perhaps we can come to think of the overuse of email as cheapening the experience. Email’s a fact of life for everyone, of course, and it’s helpful for allowing us to filter out the truly unimportant.

But, looking at the Employsure data, maybe a good old phone call is in order when the action is needed immediately, or the message needs some verbal connotation. This is food for thought, for sure.

Mallett concludes “Whilst email has greatly improved global interaction for businesses, as a method of internal communication it has reduced the art of good people management and has increased managers’ workloads.”

“Bosses receive multiple emails in the time it takes them to send just one. Naturally this takes time to process, and effectively acts to the detriment of the team.Remember when you are home, put down the Blackberry, switch off from email and spend valuable time with your friends and family, work can wait until tomorrow.”

Got the message?

The survey also found that email readership by bosses was up 4.5-hours per week for 2013, over 11 hours per week for 2012. 

Armed with this knowledge, we ask: who’s really planning to reach for the phone more often? We’re not really sure, but we are pretty confident that our assumption that the boss doesn’t do anything but sit around reading emails all day is at least partly true.

We knew it all along.

(Image source: Bigstock)