That’s the conclusion reached by a U.K.-based training company after its surveyors discovered that directors and managers waste an hour a day on their jobs because they manage their email poorly.
The estimate from the study conducted by training company Emailogic is based on an average director making $140,000 a year and there being some 4.5 million private companies in the United Kingdom.
An hour may not sound like much, but that’s 20 hours a month, or half a work week, that could be used to increase a highly paid individual’s productivity and further fatten a company’s bottom line.
“This is highly significant because it is 20 hours per month of senior executive time—this is key personnel time being lost every day and will be having real impact on business productivity,” Emailogic Managing Director Marc Powell.
The survey was based on a study of 115 senior managers, directors and partners from a variety of industries—pharmaceuticals, banking, law and retail. Based on a comparison between the time spent by the executives on email before and after they completed their email management training, the surveyors found that they saved 59 minutes a day from their email regimen.
One of the tips that email management trainers give their students is to avoid checking their inboxes every time a new message arrives. Doing that, they contend, creates productivity leaching interruptions. They recommend turning off all audio alarms—no more “You’ve got mail!”—and checking mail at defined intervals.
From Emailogic’s survey findings, the study participants took that tip to heart because, as a whole, they were checking their inboxes 39 percent less often after finishing their training.
More advice offered to the execs was to let people know when they send you a copy of information that you don’t need and to write clear and meaningful subject lines.
That advice, too, appears to have been embraced by the execs because they told surveyors that irrelevant emails in their inboxes had been reduced by 22.5 percent and the amount of email in those inboxes had fallen by 33 percent.
An added benefit of those reductions in email, the surveyors maintained, was the ability by the execs to keep the list of messages in their inbox confined to a single screen. That gave them a feeling of greater control of their inboxes and changed their attitudes toward email which, prior to taking the management training, they described in a number of unflattering ways, including irritating, love/hate, frustrating, overwhelming and horribly addictive.
While the training may have made the execs more efficient in using email, it may have encouraged inefficiencies in other areas. For instance, the execs reported that they were using their phones more often. That doesn’t sound like a more efficient use of time to many of us.
Without a doubt, Emailogic’s survey is self-serving—after all, they’re in the business of email management training—but that doesn’t make their findings any less revealing or recommendations less useful. If execs want to take their email management training to the next level, however, they may want to rethink their view of email, from looking at it as merely a communication tool and transforming it into a productivity tool, as Jeff Orloff outlined in his blog item here last month.