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Workers mired in e-mail wasteland

April 19, 2001

The survey, released Thursday by research firm Gartner, said workers spend an average of 49 minutes per day managing e-mail and that 24 percent spend more than an hour per day on this task.

Maurene Caplan Grey, a senior analyst for Gartner, said although employees are writing their co-workers at a higher rate to be more helpful or communicative, the constant load of e-mails can end up backfiring.

"In reality, (employees) are cluttering e-mail in-boxes, filling up servers, and sapping productivity with the volume of these messages," Grey said in a statement. "In a slowing economy, where businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, simply cutting out unnecessary e-mail will have an immediate impact."

The survey, which asked workers about their e-mail and instant messaging habits, found that 34 percent of the internal business e-mail they receive is unnecessary. The survey also said that only 27 percent of the e-mail that workers receive demands their immediate attention.

Gartner recommended that managers train employees to use e-mail more efficiently, including using distribution lists with caution by sending e-mail to only those who need the information or avoid sending needless responses, such as "I'm with you 100 percent" or "Glad to be of help." Gartner also said chat rooms, bulletin boards and instant messaging can prove to be more efficient than e-mail when employees are working in teams.

By Gwendolyn Mariano, Staff Writer, Copyright ©1995-2001 CNET Networks


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