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A third of emails received at work from colleagues are unnecessary, a report out today claims.

Between managing online porn, chain letters, gambling tips, flirting, jokes, praise, criticism, and emailers making free use of the "Reply All" function, workers spend an average of 49 minutes per day managing email.

And 24 per cent of the workforce devotes more than an hour a day on this task, according to a Gartner survey.

Those quizzed for the report added that only 27 per cent of email received needed their immediate attention.

"Employees are emailing their co-workers in higher frequencies in an effort to be helpful and more communicative," says Gartner senior analyst Maurene Caplan Grey. "In reality, they are cluttering email inboxes, filling up servers and sapping productivity with the volume of these messages.

"In a slowing economy, where businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, simply cutting out unnecessary e-mail will have an immediate impact."

Gartner reckons that by ditching this "occupational spam", workers would be able to cut down the time needed to manage email by a third.

Of course, they may also increase the amount of time spent chatting at the coffee machine or water cooler if their email lifelines are taken away.

Here are some Gartner tips for avoiding occupational spam (which you can email to all your co-workers later):


  • Think before hitting 'Reply All'

  • Don't forward jokes or non-business related email
  • Assume that agreement is implied. Don't get into a chain of needless responses such as: 'That sounds great,' 'OK, me too,' 'So that's a yes then,' 'Definitely,' 'Glad I could help,' etc, etc, ad infinitum.
  • Initiate the last reply and end messages with a phrase like 'FYI only - no reply needed'.

Meanwhile, the European Forum for Electronic Business (EEMA) has thoughtfully put together an

Email Best Practice Policy

, a list of sixteen do's and don'ts to ensure effective emailing. The document can be found

here

. ®

Related Links

Gartner release

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Employer snooping code: don't eavesdrop on staff

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