Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Communications Science

British Report Details the Stress of Email Communication 147

Posted by Zonk
from the yeah-way-rougher-than-construction-work dept.
WaltonNews writes "British researchers have found that pressures from handling emails throughout the work day cause stress and frustration with workers. Researchers from a pair of collaborating universities have found that heavy email communication causes anxiety, with some workers thinking they checked their email as often as once every fifteen minutes. The reality was much worse. From the article: 'When researchers fitted monitors to their computers, workers were found to be viewing e-mails up to 40 times an hour. About 33 per cent said they felt stressed by the volume of e-mails and the need to reply quickly. A further 28 per cent said they felt "driven" when they checked messages because of the pressure to respond. Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day or longer before replying.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

British Report Details the Stress of Email Communication

Comments Filter:
  • Personally (Score:3, Funny)

    by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:06AM (#20225017)
    I just don't care that much about my job. What's with people stressing out so much about some e-mail?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:23AM (#20225233)
      When researchers fitted monitors to their computers, workers were found to be viewing e-mails up to 40 times an hour

      Well, duh! I'm guessing that workers without monitors fitted to their computers not only rarely checked their e-mail, but could not do much of anything with their computers.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Think of it this way, it's kind of like the stress of reading /. and the pressure to first post.
    • Re:Personally (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:24AM (#20225269) Journal
      Aye, I find the delete button handles most of my email related stress.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)
        Don't show up at all and you can avoid the anxiety of face-to-face conversations and the resulting workload. Yay!
      • by antdude (79039)
        Isn't it easier and faster just to automatically send them to /dev/null, trash, etc.?
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Its true; alot of stress is self created. Especially those people that get offended so easily.

      I think though this shows that people can't properly prioritize what they need to do. I personally look at each email as it comes in, but I don't get a constant stream. Those that do should check less frequently, and prioritize the important ones from less important emails. Most email clients have ways to mark emails so that you can set a follow up deadline and such. Its just a matter of learning how to deal p
    • just don't care that much about my job. What's with people stressing out so much about some e-mail?

      You got modded funny, but this is pretty insightful.

      In fact, it's pretty much my attitude at work. I maybe check my work email 5 or 6 times a day, and reply to emails as I see fit. At the end of the day, I'm either doing my job or not. Whether I assuage somebody's ego by quick reply is not my fucking problem.

      Granted, we're not an ubercorp, so your mileage may vary.
      • by Vancorps (746090)

        I don't check my email at all during the day. Outlook poles Exchange every few seconds and when a message arrives I get a little notification in the corner of my screen with the sender and subject and based on that I can either open the email, delete the message, or leave it be because I'm busy working on something else. In my mind most people operate this way in a corporate setting, but I could be wrong.

        Some emails you might stress out about like one stating that I lost communications with a remote serve

        • by mcmonkey (96054)

          I don't check my email at all during the day. [Describes process by which email is checked constantly throughout the day.] In my mind most people operate this way in a corporate setting, but I could be wrong.

          Not checking email would mean closing Outlook or configuring it to not automatically check for new messages.

          • by Vancorps (746090)
            Why would anyone do that? It's a passive app, I have it open on a second monitor although most of the time it's minimized to the systray. There's no reason to close it, that way you get the convenience of a fast reply to a person with a quick question along with the control of picking and choosing what you want to respond to and when. Unless it's a pop3 or an imap scenario to a lesser extend when you're getting a bunch of email at one time, then there's no reason to close it. Might as well get it as it arri
  • Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day or longer before replying.
    With the people around my office, that figure sounds awfully high.

    I'd like to see a report on the stress of Slashdot communication. I probably fall into the "Obsessive F5ers" category.
    • Sheesh, my email client is set to check every five minutes. I usually reply as soon as possible if the mail is important.
    • by SolusSD (680489)
      and i just learned that F5 works in Opera in Linux... hmm...
    • Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day or longer before replying.

      With the people around my office, that figure sounds awfully high.


      I was actually thinking that 38% must be pointy haired bosses....
  • I don't know about most of you, but if I don't respond to an email pretty much when I get it, then I'm much more likely to forget to reply to it. That's part of the reason I compulsively check email and respond to it immediately. I don't think it's stressful though.
    • by daveewart (66895) *

      I don't know about most of you, but if I don't respond to an email pretty much when I get it, then I'm much more likely to forget to reply to it.

      If you keep your inbox largely clear, then this shouldn't happen. Turn email messages into "To-do" items on your To-Do list, or turn them into items on your calendar. Replying immediately is a good idea if you are able to, of course. Using your inbox as a To-Do list is not, generally, a good idea, although some may find it is OK.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sg3000 (87992) *
        > If you keep your inbox largely clear, then this shouldn't happen.

        It's funny to see how people manage their in-boxes. I do many of the suggestions you listed, and I have my email client only check my email once every 15 minutes (and even then, I have a set of carefully designed rules to filter out stuff I don't need to respond to in that time period). I don't have my Blackberry buzz me about new emails, so I only look at it when I've got time. I've found that this has helped me manage my work load quite
      • At my company, email is the primary communication mechanism. I easily get over 100 emails a day that should be responded to by someone, with about 50% of them being "group" mails to more than one person, or to an entire team, which I may or may not respond to directly depending on if I have anything to say.

        None of these are "to do" items, they are part of a conversation flow that has to take place between the team and the management in order to get things done. Some companies do this in group meetings, some do it in a top-down delegation approach. Mine does it with email. As such, I check my email around every 2-3 minutes at least, quickly scanning the inbox for messages that pertain to me.

        I don't feel it "stressful" though - it is part of the job.

        This is why I think stories like this are pointless. You can't take any group of people and generally classify them as checking email too often or too little unless you know the specifics of their job and company and how they use email in their day-to-day life. 150 emails in one day is nothign to me, but I know people in other jobs who would be freaked out if they had to deal with 5 per hour.

        • by jcgf (688310)
          I check my email around every 2-3 minutes at least, quickly scanning the inbox for messages that pertain to me.

          How do you have time to get any actual work done, or is your job checking email?

          • by brunes69 (86786)
            It takes all of 1-2 seconds to scan through your inbox and see if any of the 10 new messages need a reply.
            • by Malc (1751)
              But that's a break in concentration.
              • by j_snare (220372)
                I think people are misinterpreting "check email" to mean that they go through and read each one. But checking your e-mail can mean just looking at the subjects. You break your concentration on your current task, even just for a split second, to make a decision on if you should answer your e-mail or not.

                I think the ideal solution depends on your job.

                Part of my job is to keep an eye on servers. Since I have the system email me with status updates and the like, I pretty much have to "check" constantly, even
                • Part of my job is to keep an eye on servers. Since I have the system email me with status updates and the like, I pretty much have to "check" constantly, even if it's just to see if it's the system e-mailing me...

                  Why don't you just have the problems emailed to you instead of continual status updates where you have to figure out if it's a problem or not? And those problem emails could get sent to a phone/pager or get filtered in your email differently so you would be immediately alerted and they wouldn't get lost with all those other emails.

                  ...or some silly human.

                  Funny :)

                  I think the ideal solution depends on your job.

                  Definitely agree here, and everybody is going to find that balance that works for them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ginbot462 (626023)
        > Turn email messages into "To-do" items on your To-Do list, or turn them into items on your calendar.

        This item is actually on my TODO list. And that TODO list is also on a larger meta-TODO list. And that meta-list is stored in a binary format whose reader's code looks like // XXX: TODO - write comment about how I need to write a reader to read my meta-TODO list that includes multiple TODO lists one which has an item about replying to email should be put into a TODO list // PS need to learn you can use
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Why not just flag it for follow up or something similar so you don't forget about it?
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:09AM (#20225069) Homepage Journal
    Are you sure that 38% was "relaxed" enough, or were they just blowing off the writer?

    A bigger question is: Who polls their email client at work anymore? All of the modern clients have some sort of pop-up that will notify you when you have new mail, often with a tiny excerpt from the mail right in the window so you know if you need to read it or not. The only time I actually check the client is when I've been away from the desk for awhile and want to see what I've missed. There is no reason to keep opening up the client and manually pressing refresh.

    Also, in my experiance if someone who is in the office doesn't reply to your email within a few hours they probably never will.
    • Who polls their email client at work anymore?

      I was wondering the same thing. What is this "checking" they speak of? I don't even need to check Gmail. I can minimize the window and tell at a glance at the taskbar if there's a new message or not. and Outlook has the friendly pop up with summary. I can glance at the email and decide if I need to even read the whole thing or not.

      I think this article is long on hysteria and short on common sense. Consider this:

      About 33 per cent said they felt stressed by t
      • by Mr Z (6791)

        I count "glancing at the status bar" as "checking my email," personally. I use Mutt for my work email, and Yahoo/GMail for the rest. I'm continually glancing over at the title bars for my Yahoo and GMail windows, and at my Mutt display. Just because you don't have to manually click "reload" doesn't mean it doesn't count as "checking."

        Oh, and only 40 times an hour? What rank amateurs! I think I must check mine every 15-20 seconds!

        --Joe
    • I second... or third that. Checking e-mail? That's so 1990's. But, seriously, I would suggest poor communication skills as more of a stress inducing aspect of e-mail. How many people do you know can effectively communicate through e-mail without several successive replies? Telephone and face-to-face conversations are usually much more effective when one party doesn't communicate well. If someone sends me an e-mail which doesn't make sense to begin with, I don't waste time trying to extract their meaning t
    • Who polls their email client at work anymore?

      People who turned that off because they don't want to hear their computer scratching everytime Nigeria wakes up: "Y-Y-Y-You-Y-Y-Y-You've got-Y-Y-Y-Y". Also people who use email to queue things up so they can focus until a natural stopping point comes along.

  • by wilsonjd (597750) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:09AM (#20225071)
    If I wait a day to respond to emails at work, I will get an email from my manager asking why I haven't responded to Most coworkers can't wait for email. They IM and expect immediate response.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ghoul (157158)
      Actually I have been trying to convince coworkers that if they need something immediately and it is a something I can answer off the top of my mind without interrupting what I am doing just IM. Reserve email for issues which will need me to stop what I am working on and spend some time writing an answer and in such cases expect a reply by eod or next day not immediately.
      I am still obsessive about checking email so now I have taken to completely shutting down outlook and starting it once every hour.
      Filters h
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tehcyder (746570)

      They IM and expect immediate response.
      Ring them up and tell them to stop bothering you.
  • Seriously, who "checks" their email these days? I just assumed everyone used gmail notifier, or outlook, or kontact, or thunderbird, or one of the zillion other programs that tell you when you have new email.
    • by MartinG (52587) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:18AM (#20225177) Homepage Journal
      I find those kinds of notifications just as distracting as the phone ringing. Yes, I can ignore either, but I'd rather finish what I'm doing and check my emails at a convenient point.

      Personally, I find email the best form of communication by far for work related issues. I can point people back to what I said earlier when they can't remember it, I don't get interrupted as readily, and I can refer back to what others have said and remind them of it later.
      • by plague3106 (71849)
        I find a phone call much less distracting. For a phone call, I have to stop typing, look away from the computer and answer it. I can't easily go back to work, the call takes up more time than reading an email quickly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pope (17780)
        If you have Outlook, turn off the toaster prompt and have the new email icon show up in the taskbar. Out of the way and doesn't distract.

        I avoid IM at work whenever possible for this very reason: I have enough to concentrate on without seeing stupid pop-ups every 2 minutes. I tried to do some testing and my project manager was IMing me every 2 minutes asking if I was done yet and how it was going. How the hell are you supposed to do a proper test with that kind of interruption? Now I'm only on MSN when we'r
      • by dbIII (701233)
        Instead of distracting popup things I like the gkrellm notification - a very small image of an envelope and the number of messages waiting. Gkrellm is a system monitor (cpu activity etc) and not a mail client - you tell it which mail server/s to poll on which account/s, how often, whether you want an envelope or a penguin image to show up and even which program to launch if you click on the envelope image if you want that too. It also works on MS Windows and is configured via a GUI.
  • Not new (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zurd3 (574979)
    Some people have anxiety when taking a flight, going out of their houses, being in confined spaces, etc. And some people have anxiety with e-mail, nothing new here, move along.
  • to everyone in my .mailrc. Then I will read about whats the matter with the emails.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:15AM (#20225147) Homepage Journal
    The study didn't even take into account whether the emails in question were urgent or not. Maybe the problem is that everyone is so overworked, not that the work is coming in email. If the messages weren't urgent, but people were as obsessed as that study concludes, then its conclusions would be valid. But if they are urgent, is that the fault of email? Has everyone been stressed out for a century by "the telephone", or by the transformation of our jobs into ones that are largely talking with each other about delegated and collaborated production work?

    Are they freaked out that people are "driven" to get into cars and trains every day, sometimes for hours, as part of our work?

    Really, what is the baseline against which this "abnormal email stress" is being measured? I suspect that it's the usual imaginary baseline in "the good old days" that tabloid newspapers have been inventing since... the good old days.
    • by The Queen (56621)
      I have to agree - at my job, email is the default form of communication, and most of the time involves something that needs to be done NOW, lest the person be forced to walk over and stand over you until you read the email and do the thing while they wait. *sigh* From the time I log on in the morning until right before I shut down at night, Outlook is open, otherwise I'd be in trouble.

      Why email and not the phone? Because unlike a conversation, emails give you a record to CYA with...
  • Email is the "situational awareness" of the workplace. I don't understand how having better visibility, through better communications, is "more stressful". To me, it is empowering and makes me feel BETTER about being on top of things. To me, it is far more stressful "being in the dark" - I'd rather be "in the know". I guess for some people ignorance really is bliss.
    • by sg3000 (87992) *
      > To me, it is empowering and makes me feel BETTER about being on top of things.

      That's a good point, but I think the concern can be that being cc'ed on too many things can be overwhelming.

      At my company (foreign owned by a country known for being hierarchical and process oriented), people are used to cc'ing their managers on even routine emails. In the U.S., this would be viewed as micromanagement and the opposite of delegating, but for them, it's a way for their managers to be confident that things are
  • When researchers fitted monitors to their computers, workers were found to be viewing e-mails up to 40 times an hour.

    Of course they start checking their email frantically once the mean old researchers give the workers their monitors back.

  • If you treat e-mail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bullfish (858648) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:18AM (#20225187)
    like a phone call, yeah, it can drive you bats. The thing about e-mail is that you can read it and leave it until/if you want to compose an answer. A problem some people have is they feel they have to answer each e-mail as if the person was right in front of them. If something begs an answer I usually give it to them. If it is important, I phone. In a lot of offices, e-mail has replaced memos which rarely required an answer, immediate or otherwise.

    Myself, if the e-mail has no subject, I delete it, it is is just a statement without a question, I delete it. After that, judge accordingly. People make their own stress. It's almost like a drug.
    • OK. Please confirm receipt of my reply.
    • by barzok (26681)
      You don't have to treat the phone as an immediate response either. We've had a Pavlovian response burned into our collective behavior over the past 50 years that we must pick up the phone when it rings. But you don't. Unless it's a special on-call phone/number or you're expecting a call which demands immediate attention, there's nothing wrong (IMHO) with letting it roll to voicemail after screening the number.

      I treat my phone as being there for my convenience, not someone else's.
    • A problem some people have is they feel they have to answer each e-mail as if the person was right in front of them.

      One variation on this theme is that there are more than a few users who treat e-mail much the same way we would treat instant messaging. Regardless of the merits of their e-mail ("Hey, wanna do lunch?"), if you don't reply immediately, they feel slighted. There have been more than a few occasionss where postings to mailing lists that fell into an approval queue (due to excessive size, or

    • by Wylfing (144940)

      That's great that you can choose how (or whether) you want to respond. The problem I have (and I think many people have) is that there are a lot of PHBs in the world who think every email they send should be replied to instantly. About 1 hour is the maximum time they will tolerate. When your paycheck depends on keeping said PHBs happy, you really have no choice except to play ball. If I just deleted email I deemed unworthy of a reply, I doubt that would go over too well with my clients.

  • Maybe they've got it backwards. Personally, I spend a lot of my day hitting the "check new mail" button - if somebody mails me, I can respond to that, rather than doing actual work.

    Peter
  • how people feel so much pressure to be in touch all the time. No, I am not a CEO nor do I run a NOC, where I can see how near instant communication can be critical. I suspect that most people have some psychological need to be always available.

    I will check my email if I am expecting something important. Everyone I deal with knows how to get in touch with me if something unexpected comes up. I once had an office mate that would email me a simple yes/no question if I was in the restroom at the time rather
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      I once had an office mate that would email me a simple yes/no question if I was in the restroom at the time rather than wait 30 seconds to ask me in person- and then ask me to check my email when I returned from said restroom. And it wasn't important so as to need a paper trail, it had to do with something like did I get some memo.

      To me that's where IM fits in; quick, trivial questions.
    • by e2d2 (115622)
      After years of internet communication I've found myself actually limiting the amount I'm exposed to more and more. Part of it comes from the need to focus and see more productivity in certain areas of my life.

      Another part of it just can't get past the lack of accountability in these new forms of communication. Things that aren't acceptable in common conversation have become normal everyday.

      It begs the question - why am I feeling emotions when communicating with strangers? I'd just rather not deal with it. C
  • ...check my email. Be right back.
  • my old job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:22AM (#20225225)
    At my old job I was always getting a steady stream of emails. The way I handled it was by setting up filters in Outlook to separate things into folders/subfolders (thankfully many of my emails were machine-generated due to various event triggers, which made this whole system possible). I also set Outlook not to auto-mark messages as read--I had to do it myself. I would then use this arrangement of folders to prioritize my workload. When I responded to a message or completed the task it outlined, I would mark it read. It made for a very convenient way to measure my workload in different categories (4 messages in folder X, 11 in folder Y, 2 in folder Z--Let's knock out folder Y first). This also ensured that I responded to every single email, instead of seeing more than a few slip through the cracks because I forgot about them (which seemed to happen to just about everyone else in the office at some point or another).
    • by jimicus (737525)
      Absolutely right. I do something similar - why on Earth would I want my inbox clogged up with email from the various monitoring systems and backup systems I run?

      Yet IME, 95% of people never even look at this filtering capability.
  • I'm at a remote site, on a customer's network. If they are having that much stress and spending that much time checking email, but them on a web based client, it'll slow them down bigtime.../grumbles about OWA...
  • That's nothing, the last place I worked as the only computer tech they had, they insisted I set everyone's outlook to automatically check for messages every 1 minute. They were quite appalled when I told them that was the smallest increment Outlook would let them, they originally wanted it ever 15 seconds. What's sad is most of them will sit and hammer the send/receive button furiously.
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Hmm... should have just setup and exchange server. You're pretty much notified immedately when there is new mail. No need for Send / Receive.
  • You mean they didn't already have them?
  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:26AM (#20225287)
    Most of the "sky is falling" articles come from the UK especially global warming. I immediately discount any news article from UK.
  • I rarely do a manual check of my e-mail. I let other software monitor my e-mail. Aside from the content, I do not stress over the sending/receiving/replying of e-mail. In fact it eases stress by not checking e-mail.

    Depending on my workload, I respond to short/easy e-mails within fifteen minutes. Everything else gets some sort of reply by the end of the business day (but not necessarily a solution).
  • From: CEO@forensicts.co.uk
    To: security@forensicts.co.uk
    Subject: Stolen server

    Have you found our stolen server yet? I emailed you about it two hours ago and haven't heard back from you yet.

    Regards,

    Mildred T. Winterbottom, CEO

  • This just in....work is stressful.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:37AM (#20225435) Homepage
    I generally keep my inbox clear. The only things in my inbox are things I need to get back to. Email is nice, because I can get back to them as-needed.

    However, at my current job, my inbox is a 10 page mess. This isn't because I don't manage email properly - it's a symptom of the organization. Email doesn't cause stress any more than phone calls or postal mail. It becomes stressful if the job is stressful.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      I go the other way. There are more than 3000 unread emails in my inbox - mostly automatic notifications where only the subject line matters. Since I can sort by date, sender etc it doesn't really matter that the mailbox has a lot of small messages in it. If the actual size of the Inbox file is large this would be a problem - some otherwise decent mail clients do nasty things at 2GB and Outlook Express shows how nasty it is at that point. When I'm offsite the webmail I use only has immediate access to ma
  • Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @10:39AM (#20225455)
    You think e-mail gives you stress?

    I've got 4 mod points left and everytime I log onto /. it keeps saying 'Use 'em or lose 'em'. Now that's what I call stress.
    • by David_W (35680)

      I've got 4 mod points left and everytime I log onto /. it keeps saying 'Use 'em or lose 'em'.

      And worse yet, by replying to this article you've blocked a chance at using them!

  • With our commincation process changing from Face to Face conversations, to Hard line Phone conversations, to Mobile phone (on the go) discussions, to Faxes, to Electonic documents, to Email, to Blackberry mail, to IM Text messages, and now to Phone text messages. Email is easy.

    This makes you start to wonder how much of this email is truely work related? Friends, Family, e-vites, Amazon, e-bay, spam, and other such non-work related emails, or all work related???

    Now I can understand if this is the new trend
  • Just 38% were "relaxed enough" to wait a day or more to answer the phone, too. Hope you like hold music.

    Seriously, is this all that bad? I check my mail whenever I have an idle cycle or three, and that often means that I get things done sooner rather than later. Similarly, probably the biggest single waste of time in my day is waiting on responses to things that I really wanted a response on soon.
  • I would like to know how workers used their computers before "researchers fitted monitors to their computers". I've tried to use my computer without any monitors, and its hard to use the mouse without them. I guess if you don't want the stress of email communication at work, you just have to remove the monitors from your computer, problem solved!
  • I think a lot of people like to over-inflate the importance of their work. Pissant office workers from low level managers to data entry workers to mail room clerks enjoy furrowing their brow a lot and pretending that the economies of several western nations may come crashing down if they don't do their job. These are people whose sense of self worth comes from their job, they fail to realize that for people in their position, working is simply a means to an end.

    These are the people that stress about email a
  • researchers fitted monitors to their computers, workers were found to be viewing e-mails up to 40 times an hour
    Slackers! Going back and forth among my work, main, and secondary email accounts, my number has got to be close to one per minute.
  • I also find email can be a stress reliever. I get a lot of emails that deal with routine issues. If I have some complicated decision or other source of stress, it can be useful to just devote half an hour or so to dealing with routine stuff, which is varied enough to take my mind off of the day's crisis. Frequently, by the time I'm done, the answer I am seeking pops into my head.
  • Not just email (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:04AM (#20225781)
    Seems like one of the popular business fads of the moment is "having a sense of urgency". Have you heard this one? Your boss or executive manager probably has this buzz-phrase in his vocabulary. Everything is "urgent" now: From project completion to making your numbers, to handling unexpected events, to your everyday communication. URGENT! URGENT!! Every E-mail MUST be responded to, instantly! URGENT! Your competitors check their E-mail 20 times an hour, so it's urgent that you check 40 times an hour!! Every communication is of top importance, every bug is priority one, every E-mail is URGENT!

    I've seen offices where you'd get an E-mail, and if you didn't respond within a few minutes, you'd get an I.M. and if you didn't respond to that within a few seconds, it's a telephone call, and if you don't answer, someone will breathlessly rush to your desk to ask you face-to-face what flavor of coffee should get brewed next in the break room.

    No wonder people are getting stressed out. I think it's URGENT that we all take a break and realize that your business is not going to go up in flames if you relax and have normal paced communications.
    • Seems like one of the popular business fads of the moment is "having a sense of urgency"

      One manager I know set the clock on his laptop forward a month at the start of a critical phase in the project so that his emails sat at the head of everybody's queue for the duration.

  • These are some strange findings...
    I prefer email precisely because i can respond at my leisure, as opposed to a phonecall where you really are on the spot and forced to reply immediately. I will often take my time responding to email, thinking of what to write and the best way to get my point across. On the phone you dont have such time to think, thats why a lot of aggressive people (headhunters, salesmen) prefer to call you.
    Also, why bother checking email repeatedly, does your mail client not notify you in
  • This article is a lot about people like me.

    I'm in a mildly technical role, no development or anything like that - essentially I'm a product manager. On a day between 9am and 6pm I will receive, on average, one email just under every 3 minutes (about 180+ a day). Of these, about 50% of them are directed at me which require a response. 10% are from members of my team which are outward communication that I need to know about because, as the product manager, if someone asks you a question, they expect you to

  • by Jay L (74152) <jay+slashNO@SPAMjay.fm> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @11:23AM (#20226051) Homepage
    When researchers fitted monitors to their computers, workers were found to be viewing e-mails up to 40 times an hour.

    Workers using computers without monitors checked their e-mail far less often.
  • I'm sure the Mandarins of low impact multicultural fat free no smoking bike helmets for everyone in the UK will soon pass a law limiting the number of emails one is allowed to see in a day with harsh penalties if they exceed that.
  • > Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day or longer before replying.'

    They were called, "management."
  • I further care about those people who freak out over e-mail. A decade ago they were freaking out over phone messages and checking them every 15. COD. So what?
  • No stress compared to the telephone. Just allocate an amount of time every hour or two to deal with it. Prioritize the inbox stuff, handle the important issues and let the rest sit.


    I used to work for an outfit where managers refused to leave messages on e-mail, voicemail, pagers, call outside numbers (cell phones, for example) or write memos. If employees didn't pick up their phones at any time, they'd throw a fit. Now that's stress.

  • I try to pidgeonhole all my emails. This is needed since I get a TON of automated emails from machines telling me about builds, and status of testing of emails. Those are so predictable I can get outlook filter them easily.

    The problem I ran into is the frenzy of "out of the office" emails for telecommuting. Everyone around here has a unique way of expressing that they are not in the office. Instead of a nice "OOTO TC"-prefixed email, I get "W@H"," out of the office","OTOO","offline for a bit". It's like the
  • When something is important enough that it requires an IMMEDIATE response, reach for the phone and dial the number. When you use EMail with me, you accept that I answer as soon as the situation warrants it.

    EMail is useful, but two things it is not:

    First and foremost, a way to transfer files. Put the item in question on some server and send a link. The overhead is really amazing when sending content via mail that doesn't consist entirely of text (and yes, this includes Word-Files, dear managers!).

    And second,
  • by LingNoi (1066278)
    Friends at University were getting shouted at for not replying to their email within 4 hours to their job placement adviser.

    Just because it is instant doesn't mean your getting an instant reply.
  • At my workplace, my e-mail contains no spam.

    Typical emails are automated messages: whenever someone checks in a modified header file, a source file in one of my areas of responsibility, or a source file I monitor because I have a customized version in my workarea that needs to be kept in sync (a system enhancement I like that another programmer won't tolerate being in his area of responsibility); messages tracking the status of bugs and change requests that I've filed or which have been assigned to me; mess

  • FTA: Just 38 per cent of workers were relaxed enough to wait a day or longer before replying.

    In other words, almost half.
  • I myself have to be a frequent email checker because some of my clients insist on using email even in cases where a phone call would be better (more likely for me to respond immediately when it rings, and more able to understand the nature of the issue without having to trade emails).

    Email is a great way to drop a few ideas to someone quickly and in a pseudo form of writing. However, as it has become a disaster of spam, re:re:re:re:re:re: that thing subject lines, incoherent abuses of the language, and m

  • Inbox Zero (Score:2, Informative)

    by wolfi (94043)
    Just the other day I watched this Google TechTalk video http://tinyurl.com/37ykh6 [tinyurl.com], titled "Inbox Zero", and it's well worth the time (59 minutes) imho.

    Great tips on how to handle your inbox and become more productive.

    Abstract:

    "Merlin Mann, a well known productivity guru and creator of the popular 43 folders website will talk about Getting Things Done, the importance of getting your inbox to zero, and strategies for dealing with high volume email"

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

Working...