Leaders are wasting more time sorting through their emails than ever before, according to new research by employment law consultancy, Employsure.
Leaders are spending an astonishing 16.5 hours per week reading and responding to email, up by almost 50% from 2012.
Managing director of Employsure, Edward Mallett, says it’s time to find better ways to communicate in the workplace.
“Emails are supposed to help but they deter people from getting their job done,” he says. “Turn off the email, pick up the phone or, even better, meet someone face to face. It is much easier to pick up a phone and make a request than to send a string of emails back and forth until the original message gets diluted.”
According to Mallett, the huge number of devices available to employees has made them trigger happy when it comes to emailing managers.
“[It’s] creating logistical nightmares for managers, who have to spend hours searching through all their emails. Not only does this eat into employer’s time, but there is also a cost involved to cover all emails sent. 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.”
The research shows that 72% of leaders feel their email is now deterring them from doing a good job. Mallett thinks that personal communication might be a quick and easy way to avoid email spam from your subordinates.
“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,” he says.
Of course, email is useful keeping track of your interactions, especially in operational matters. “Try to keep a record of these communications to avoid deadlines being missed and coming back to haunt you at a later date,” he says.
According to the research over 90% of leaders are checking their emails in their home time; Mallett is worried that managers have forgotten the importance of getting downtime. “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,” he says.
In case you too are spending over 16 hours a week on your email, here’s a refresher on how to trim the inbox. You can find a more in-depth list of ways to improve your email efficiency from our story published earlier this year.
The fewer email you get, the less you have to deal with. This means you need to have a serious think about the mailing lists you’re on. Ditch the ones that aren’t relevant or that you never read. .
Take advantage of Microsoft Office’s colour coding system to sort your inbox more efficiently. You’ll be glad you did.
Most email programs have the ability to automatically organise your emails; split into folders, send to junk, delete forever or forward to another account. Make sure you use them to maximise your productivity.
Gmail helpfully groups all your correspondence into ‘conversations’. However Outlook can do it for you too!
Don’t procrastinate! 100 unread emails might be daunting, but far less so than 500.