The Problem of Email Overload

The Problem of Email Overload

Welcome to the Problem of Email Overload!

Email has grown to become the dominant and preferred mode of business communication!

  • It is effective, efficient, fast, and accurate
  • It supports the virtualization of business activities and the growing trend in telecommuting

Email is now used for many purposes beyond just messaging:

  • Organizing Information
  • Scheduling events
  • Contact management
  • Virtual conversations
  • Decision making
  • Prioritizing
  • Managing and delegating tasks

Employees are spending larger and larger portions of their day processing Email, as it has become their primary electronic habitat

  • Many users receive 100 (or more) messages a day
  • Consumes 2 to 3 hours a day on e-mail related activities.

A key problem of Email overload is that there are negative impacts from the constant interruptions of processing high-volumes of Email.

  • Results in professional and personal stress.
  • Work becomes "fragmented", resulting in lower productivity, errors, omissions, and reduced decision making abilities.

Research has identified specific problem areas that result in Email overload:

  • "Filing" - moving messages to folders
  • "Task management" - using Emails for to-dos and reminders
  • "Semi-structured messages" - Subject and content issues
  • "Triage" - how to review and process inbox messages

Email Training Gaps:

  • Many Email processing issues can be addressed through existing features, functionality, and processing approaches, but most business user’s do not have the skills or knowledge on how to fully leverage Email to their maximum benefit.
  • When training exists, it is often limited to only specific features and skills, and omits the broader issues around improving information processing, media use, and Email triage capabilities.

Research into Email overload has found that there is likely no single effective Email processing strategy and that Email training needs to stress a diversity of skills and approaches to meet individual styles.