Study debunks e-mail overload myth
Contrary to the perception that workers are flooded with e-mail, most workers are happy with their e-mail levels and believe that it helps them in their work.
A new US-based survey carried out by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that e-mail is now used by more than 57 million workers, almost double the number that used it two years ago.
The survey found that the average American who uses e-mail at work spends about a half hour handling e-mail and that the majority of work e-mailers receive ten or fewer e-mails a day and send five or fewer.
"We began this survey expecting to find the beginning of a backlash against e-mail not just against spam, but also against the rising volume of all kinds of e-mail," said Deborah Fallows, a senior research fellow at the Pew Internet & American Life Project and author of a report on the survey. "Instead, we found that most American workers are pleased with the role e-mail plays in their job, and we found almost zero evidence of disillusionment with e-mail. "
Asked to rate e-mail's place in their work on a scale of one to ten, 52 per cent ranked it as essential and another 34 per cent viewed it as valuable. Relatively few rated it a waste of time.
Seventy-two per cent of workers said that e-mail helps them to communicate with more people and 72 per cent of the respondents say that e-mail saves them time. Six of out ten workers say that e-mail improves workplace teamwork and 43 per cent say that e-mail has offered them some relief at times during their workdays.
The survey did find some negative aspects to workplace e-mail. About a quarter of e-mailers find e-mail distracting, 20 per cent say that e-mail has caused misunderstandings at work and a similar number say that e-mail has added a new source of stress at work.