Is email yesterday’s technology and will email overload soon be a thing of the past? Maybe for Generation K – teenagers. However, four recent studies on email overload and email traffic suggest that this is definitely not the case see below.
1. Email alert: full inboxes leave staff exhausted. Professor Cary Cooper pronounced that email is sapping the life out of the British workforce. It is one reason why British productivity is the lowest in the G7 group. Germany and France are taking action to reduce the email overload malaise, but few UK based companies are doing anything. Sir Cary says ‘companies need to take drastic action’.
2. Here are some of the findings from a fascinating new study of the email behaviour of over 2 million users by a group of researchers at Yahoo and the University of Southern California.
2. The overall volume of emails sent and received is predicted to grow by 3% year on year between 2015 and 2019 according to the Radicati Groups latest email statistics report. This may be a small increase but nonetheless it is still up rather than down.
3. Pointless emails are common. A study focused on British email users (by Sennheiser) found that of 2,000 business users one third felt there was always someone in their team who sent pointless emails (eg the photo copier is broken) when an alternative more effective method could be used. 38% confessed to sending an email which started an email war and 25% said they used email instead of talking because they were emailing about a person sitting close by!
Even if you only receive half the number of emails identified in these studies that is 50 per day and 10,000+ per year. If you are a manger the volume will be higher and the email overload more pronounced.
There are important lessons to be drawn from these studies, not least about email etiquette, the risk of missing important emails as email traffic increases and the impact of email overload on business and personal productivity and finding key emails when needed to support your reason for actions taken.
Simply banning email is not a solution as the Grossman Group pointed out. The solution is to change the email culture and enable people to use email more responsibility. Know when to stop an email chain and talk, no reply is required, etc.
These are challenges which Mesmo Consultancy regularly addresses in its email management training webinars, workshops and one-to-one coaching. If these are issues you face then why not call us now to hear how we have helped other clients like you?
Tags: Cary Cooper, email etiquette, email management training, email overload, Generation K, Generation X, Generation Y, Mesmo Consultancy, Millenials, Radicati Group, Sennheiser, The Grossman Group, University of Southern California, Yahoo
Hurray for the Harris Academy who earlier this month decided to ban the use of all slang and text speak in an effort to improve pupil’s English language skills. A person’s lack of command and competence with proper English is rendered naked in an email as many business people have discovered. An email sent on a company address is a business record and as such represents that company’s brand and image. Whilst slang and text speak may be acceptable socially, proper business email etiquette is a pre-requisite to developing good business communications.
How would you feel as a manager and/or business owner if your employees sent emails which do not reflect properly your brand and company values? Yet that is what thousands of people do every day. They write emails in which ‘there way to resolve the challenge is…’. ‘They two will spellcheck their emails…’
Add to that the number of emails which contain text speak which many outside generation X and the Millennials see as a foreign language. Add too those emails which contain smileys and kisses and you start to see the problem. (If you are in the retail sector such emails can be enough to cost you a customer especially if they customer if a Baby Boomer or from Generation X who are used to properly written communications). Your email is your digital dress code. Sloppy email – sloppy you and your business. Business email etiquette is different to social email etiquette. Business emails need to be need properly structured, grammatically correct and spell-checked. After all it would not be good to ask fellow board members to get their ‘dicks’ lined up!
The ban on text speak and slang by Harris Academy is welcomed, because if we don’t start to educate today’s school children we might as well wave goodbye to English as you and I know it. This would a be a great shame and could be the start of the slippery slope to lower standards of email etiquette and business communications which will mean time wasted as we try to comprehend what is being said.
Use Mesmo Consultancy’s free ‘Email Etiquette Benchmarking tool‘ to check the quality of your emails. If you find they do not support your values and brand then it’s time to take the bull by the horns and educate your workforce before you lose valuable customers. Call me to discuss how we can help you.
Meanwhile, what’s the worst business email etiquette bungle you have ever seen/made?