Email most stressful app

Email represents the single most stressful business application causing employees to become “tired, frustrated and unproductive”, according to research carried out by the University of Glasgow’s Computing Science department.

The survey of 177 subjects’ working habits found that 34% of workers feel stressed by the volume of emails they receive daily, with a further 28% of respondents regarding email as a major source of pressure. The research also found that workers typically switch applications as often as 40 times an hour in order to view their email, suggesting the application fosters unhealthy compulsive behaviour.

“This indicates the astonishing extent to which email is embedded in our day-to-day lives,” the report comments.

According to Dr Karen Renaud of University of Glasgow's Computing Science department who headed up the research, the act of repeatedly breaking away from tasks requiring concentration in order to momentarily check email is mentally draining and reduces productivity levels.

Workers should check their messages only a few times a day, she recommends.

The survey points up the growing burden of information management faced by many organisations that have yet to establish efficient processes around their communications infrastructures. Email management provider, Waterford Technologies, estimates that the average worker spends up to 11 working weeks a year negotiating their emails, representing £7.5 million per year in an organisation of 1000 employees.

This, however, does not factor in the additional burden of email misuse, spam, and storage.

See also: Are millennials killing the email?

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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