The way you communicate at work has changed over the past thirty years. Ever since email was invented, it has been ubiquitously absorbed into workplace communication. Nowadays, it is entirely reasonable for employees to spend hours answering and writing emails.
Emails are sent back and forth about everything — from complex issues to messages about the simplest things. In fact, email communication is so ingrained into workplace communication that people even send emails to the person sitting next to them, instead of talking face to face.
Email communication is not slowing down according to the 2014-2018 Email Statistics Report by The Radicati Group — a global computer and telecommunications research company. The report reveals that workers receive 13 extra emails each day with an average of 12 emails every working hour.
With an average of 140 business related email sent back and forth each day, it’s no wonder workers are drowning in emails and suffering from email overload.
The consequences of email overload are stress and anxiety which comes from a perceived need to organise and reply to emails, and from feelings of isolation due to lack of face to face communication. All of this is affecting the wellbeing of workers and contributing to lower productivity at work.
New research reveals that bosses too struggle to keep up with emails which threaten to keep them from being effective leaders, which in turn affects the productivity of the employees.
So how can you and your employees cope with high email demands at your workplace which also seems to flow into your lives after work hours.
Allocate specific times to check email
Turn off notifications and email alerts so that you are not distracted from the task at hand. Get through your email in time blocks of 30-60 minutes which is your allocated time to concentrate on your emails.
Be sure not to check your email early in the morning or late in the night as it is sure to contribute to more stress.
Set boundaries for off-hour emails
Use out of office messaging to let email senders know that you are not replying to emails outside of regular work hours, when your away from your workplace, or away on holiday.
As mobile and wearable technologies provide more options for checking your inbox, the culture of always being available is causing a lot of stress and affecting job performance. But it’s up to you to set the boundaries for after work emails and to stick to it.
File and manage emails
Use smart filters and rules in your email program to separate emails so that you can prioritise emails which need a response immediately while others can wait.
Another tip is to organise emails into sections so that you can separate emails that are urgent from those that are non-urgent. Delete unnecessary emails and focus on important emails first.
Immediately file away emails you have responded to so that your inbox stays clear. Also be sure to clean your folders frequently and get rid of emails not needed anymore.
Basic training about email use
Businesses must consider providing training on organising and managing email. This means that workers spend less time finding ways to deal with emails on their own.
Company guidelines on email management also establish rules on how emails are to be sent, organised and written which helps employees work through their inboxes efficiently.
Write clear emails
Learn to write clear, structured and concise emails. This way you will spend less time answering emails asking for clarification, and you make it easy for other people to reply appropriately.
Consider other forms of communication
If you have to send an email to the person sitting close by, then take the time to walk over to their desk to talk about the task. Getting out of your chair will give your body a break from sitting at your desk for long hours and improve your wellbeing. You’ll also reduce your stress, get a break and enhance relationships with your colleagues.
Pick up the phone and have a phone conversation in case the person is not nearby. Voice conversation tends to be more personal and can clarify issues quicker than waiting for an email.
Email overlaid is likely to continue causing stress and anxiety at work. But by developing good coping strategies, and being organised, you can change how email stress affects your wellbeing and the health of your employees.
Six Sure-Fire Strategies to Cope With Email Overload — Corporate Health, Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing is written by Wellineux for www.wellineux.com