Indian-American researchers develop system to ease e-mail overload

March 7th, 2009 - 1:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 7 (IANS) Indian-American researchers are taking the help of a computer model called SIMONE to ease e-mail overload in busy organisations and companies.
Ashish Gupta and Ramesh Sharda of Minnesota and Oklahoma State Universities, respectively, described how SIMONE (Simulator for Interruptions and Message Overload in Network Environments) can produce a model of how e-mail flows within a network of knowledge workers.

“E-mail has become the most prevalent mode of business communication and information exchange within organisations,” the researchers said, “and has changed the way we spend our time at work”.

They pointed out that it provides a cost-effective and open medium for sharing information and can improve time-effectiveness and efficiency by avoiding the need for many meetings and phone calls.

However, several reports suggest that employees are spending increasing amounts of time handling email, time that may detract from their primary role within the organisation.

Business researchers have repeatedly raised concerns about e-mail overload, interruptions, technology addiction, attention deficiency and productivity loss.

Gupta and colleagues have carried out an array of tests on e-mail systems with the help of SIMONE. Their findings suggest the perhaps obvious conclusion that managers could improve e-mail efficiency simply by scheduling e-mail processing times across an organisation.

This approach avoids the inherent distraction of continual e-mail interruptions throughout the working day, allowing employees to focus their efforts on primary tasks at other times, said an Oklahoma release.

The solution also places emphasis on allowing time for necessary e-mail and so removes pressure from employees who feel constantly obliged to check and respond to e-mails.

These findings have been described in the latest issue of the International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling.

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