Is email at work more trouble than it's worth?

I recently mentioned how some health experts believe emails are fattening. Well, the most recent controversy concerning the use of workplace email suggests email makes you less productive (BBC News: Have Your Say).

The link in question - a forum of responses - centres on Anti-poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof telling a conference in London that emails "get in the way" of actually doing your job, and that they mistakenly give people "a feeling of action". He also warned of the dangers of sending ill-considered emails, saying they can cause serious commercial harm.

Some of the responses are well worth a quick look mainly because of the variety of opinion. Here are just a (unrepresentive!) sample of opinions on Geldof's statement:

Yes I agree with him but it is only a part of a much larger problem of being occupied, or even over occupied, without the occupation being worthwhile.This consumption of time at work is a waste and gives no benefit to the progress of the person involved nor to the task of supporting employment but it does give job satisfaction (Archie Courtney-Wildman, Paris).

As with any technology, it's not the email but the emailer. Many people abuse it, many underuse it and many overuse it. I tend to overuse it, but I find it is very time-efficient and cuts immensely on the paperwork. It is also a very good way of organising my job. I could live without it, but I would need 30% more time to do what I do. The best feature of email is that you can communicate easily with people that annoy you (those whom I like, I go and visit them ;-) (Oscar Lima, Brighton, Britain, EU)

Oh I so do waste time at work emailing...In fact , I'm doing it now (Bob, Manchester).

I think these forums are great and you get a very good idea of what people are really thinking about work-related issues. A further article - Would we be a lot better off ignoring our emails? - also covers the same issue (Ian Wylie, The Guardian).

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