Are you spending over a day a week on email?

by Staff Writer

Imagine you weren’t able to get to what’s really important at work until late Tuesday morning each week. Given our current email workloads that’s essentially what’s happening — according to Forrester Research, just reading emails and creating messages, documents, and presentations take up 24 percent of the average employee’s work week, or about a day and a quarter of time spent at work.

Email messages raining down

It’s no exaggeration to say that workplaces are drowning in email. The average employee sends and receives 126 email messages each day, a volume that has massive repercussions on how effective they can be as well, as just about every aspect of how they do work.

Those 126 daily messages – or 630 emails a week – suck up time in ways that are both obvious and insidious. Employees to sift through countless messages when they need to find specific information, introducing version control problems and other complexities as documents are sent back and forth. 

126 email messages received a day on average

All in, the interruptions and complications that stem from those daily email messages add up fast: Forrester says that all things considered, dealing with email leaves the average employee with just 18 percent of their work week to focus on actual work. 

The end of email?

While getting rid of email  might seem like an obvious solution, email is still a vital workplace tool for most businesses. While chat and messenger apps are popular and even commonplace these days, three quarters of teams rely on email for internal communications, and roughly the same amount use email to share information with external partners, according to Forrester Research. These are communication needs that can’t be solved through chat apps alone.

So what is the fix?

When you quantify the magnitude of the problem, it becomes clear that the conventional wisdom of cutting down on unnecessary responses, such as a quick “thanks” or “got it,” avoiding the dreaded “reply all” button, or strategies such as checking email only at certain times each day, can only go so far to quell the deluge. Businesses need to think beyond superficial fixes to enact meaningful change.

Consider a platform for collaborative work management that can streamline communications, speed efficiencies, and help you get more out of other tools you’re already using, whether that’s a preferred chat app — or even a more effective use of email. The right platform can reduce time wasted on unnecessary communications, improve clarity, and keep everyone on the same page.

To read more about how you can reduce the burden of email on your organization — along with fixes for five other common business dysfunctions, download the latest Smartsheet report 6 reasons your work is so dysfunctional — and what you can do about it