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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Email and Stress

There is an interesting (although not unexpected) study published by researchers from Glasgow and Paisley universities about email stress.

Interesting findings:

The participants in the study were checking mail up to 40 times per hour.
They thought that they were checking 4 times per hour.

Links to the articles after the jump.

The article is on the Ars Technica: link.

Another interesting study was conducted in 2003, with American workers: Overwhelmed by Email. Since this study is from 2003, keep in mind that email volume has been climbing 10-20% per year (which implies that time consumed by email may have as much as doubled since then).

Consider the costs of this "always on", "pressured to respond immediately" mindset:

It takes up to 15 minutes for an information worker to properly resume the task that was interrupted responding to email. Meanwhile, the average user receives 10-20 emails per day. Even accounting for the mail coming in pairs, that would account for 1 hour 15 minutes of lost productivity, per employee, per day (and going up by 10-20% per year).

In a 1000 employee organization:

1000 users * 1.25 hours * 250 days per year = 312500 hours per year in lost productivity.

Multiply that by an by a fully loaded cost of $35/hr, and you're at $11M per year in lost productivity.

Something to keep in mind when you are analyzing the costs of email governance.

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