This article has been around for quite sometime - I was due to attend a meeting with Loughborough University's Dr Tom Jackson(one of the interviewees in the article) yesterday that was organised by Brett. Unfortunately it got cancelled. I was waiting for that before I blogged about this, as it is has not been rescheduled yet I will get my initial thoughts down
Some of the salient points from the article
"One FTSE firm estimated that dealing with pointless e-mails cost it £39m a year. "
"On average, we spend 52 hours a year just dealing with our junk mail."
"Britons take 14 million sick days due to stress every year. He (Professor Gary Cooper) believes e-mail is a major source of employee anxiety.
E-mail inboxes are causing employees concern, because of the number of e-mails and the poorly written e-mails. They really want to find some sort of solutions for these problems," he says."
The article also states that email is now 24/7 - Blackberry and Windows Mobile is exacerbating the issue. I have been having face to face conversations with colleagues in Microsoft who will constantly check their Windows Mobile for mail. I am probably guilty of this also. Likewise I have heard horror stories of colleagues checking their devices during the evening when watching Corrie. Much to the annoyance of their partners.
I personally still rely on email - it is a great way to disseminate information and to ask questions to many people when the answer is not needed immediately.
I think most of the stress related to email is because of the volume, not the content. How do you prioritise which email in your inbox needs to be addressed first.
Most of my day to day communication is now done over IM. Because most of my co-workers do the same I know that what is in my inbox is normally not high priority. If someone needs to get hold of me in Microsoft they will normally do it over IM. Using IM in OCS then makes the escalation to voice calls much easier.
Has the volume of mail I get decreased because of this - probably not, but overall I would like to think I am much more in control of my communications.
The world is moving to an IM culture, and no doubt in the years to come the BBC will be running an article "IM is ruining my life" but for the meantime it works for me.