In brief: Do you spend a disproportionate amount of time drafting emails, many of which will be ignored completely by the recipient? A new study by Slack found that employees lose up to eight hours and 42 minutes each week on this futile endeavor, and yet, as one executive put it, "Email is the cockroach of the internet – it simply won't die."
Slack surveyed over 8,000 small business employees as part of its research. It found that workers are drafting 99 emails on average each week. Not only is this taking huge amounts of time, but it also seems quite pointless when two in five people admit that they don't bother reading emails that are longer than eight sentences.
The study also showed that the average employee ignores six emails per day based on the subject line alone, while 48% said they miss emails due to spam or junk folders. A further 44% admitted that their inboxes are full of irrelevant emails. All of this means that a third of workers aren't seeing important details as the messages are being ignored, deleted, or missed.
Another problem that 55% of respondents have with emails is that it's easy to misconstrue their tone. It's no surprise that 27% of people believe that email is an "outdated form of communication."
The email problem is impacting productivity, with two-fifths of workers saying that related menial tasks are making them feel bogged down, while almost half say checking their inboxes constantly is making it difficult to succeed in their roles.
Deirdre Byrne, Head of UK and Ireland at Slack, gave a fairly damning summary:
"Email is the cockroach of the internet – it simply won't die. Yet when it comes to business communication, the research reveals this 50-year-old tech isn't fit for purpose. Employees at small businesses are losing a working day each week to drafting emails – which often go unread – at the expense of productive work."
For all the complaints about AI and its potential to replace human jobs, 51% of those surveyed said its ability to perform manual and repetitive tasks, which in this instance would presumably be drafting emails and scanning them for important details, is an appealing element of the technology.
This isn't the first time Slack has criticized email. It did the same last year, highlighting many of the issues brought up in the recent study. The company suggested workers use other, more efficient ways to collaborate and communicate, including, of course, Slack.