It highjacks the workday of many, and dictates the workday of most.
Many employees spend over four hours a day on email (Ferris Research, San Francisco).
And executives receive on average 48 emails per day (Professor C. Cavanagh, University of Western Ontario).
Also, it takes 12-18 minutes on average to reply to a message (Ferris Research).
So if you answer every email, it will take more hours than people have in a day.
Clearly, this costs businesses millions in lost productivity. No wonder people constantly complain that by the time they handle their email, no time remains for their real work.
You personally probably spend too much time on email now, in any event.
A Major Cause of Stress.
Health Canada states that email is a significant contributing factor to stress in the workplace, and threatens people’s overall health.
It further notes that employees feel that the very thing supposed to give them more time, has, instead, given them less control of their lives. They are now slaves to the keyboard.
Legal Liability: Staggering.
It could cost your business thousands, even millions, e.g., Merrill Lynch to the tune of $100 million due to an errant email, prompting mandatory email training for the whole company.
Or you may supply unwilling evidence in criminal proceedings, e.g., Arthur Andersen, Enron, etc. In fact, emails routinely appear as evidence in criminal proceedings.
A PR Nightmare?
You could end up on the front page of a newspaper. Disgruntled employees have leaked confidential information to the Press.
And you can release confidential information to a wider audience than intended. Maybe to a competitor.
A recent study from George Mason University shows that work teams become completely dysfunctional when email is the only form of communication.
A Major Cause of Conflict. Most of us have received (or sent) emails that have been misunderstood.
Many of us have unintentionally upset others by what we wrote or have been offended by what people emailed us.
Raymond Friedman of Vanderbilt University and Steven Currall of Rice University support this from their first-ever study on “conflict escalation in email.”
Image Maker or Image Breaker?
Businesses and their staff are having their image formed by email, usually for worse. Also, “cute” emails hurt people’s career advancement.
Clearly, then, email causes major effects in the workplace.