E-mails create more problems than solve them at the workplace

November 14th, 2007 - 2:43 am ICT by admin  

Dr. Ken Siegel, a psychologist and president of Impact Group, management consultants in Los Angeles, believes that e-mail has become an easy and convenient way to avoid solving problems.

He also stresses that increasing dependency on e-mail is making people run away from face-to-face communications, leading to poor productivity at workplace.

The trend has led Dr. Siegel to front a crusade against e-mails by helping his business clients organize activities such as a “no e-mail Friday” in order to increase productivity.

“E-mail is not a communication device, it’s a broadcasting device. It will actually truncate communication. And in the truest sense of the word, it has become a psychological dependency. We have convinced ourselves that we can’t live without it,” Dr. Siegel said.

According to US research firm The Radicati Group, individual workers sent an average of 37 emails a day in 2006, set to rise to 47 before 2008.

Stressing on the figures, Dr. Siegel asks, “Do we really want our company to be spending so much of its time doing something that ultimately isn’t productive?”

He said that people need to consider how much e-mail adds “to the value of their days.” Most of the executives he works with say they spend two to three hours a day on e-mail (about 150 to 250 messages) and on average only 16 to 19 percent of those messages met the value-added criterion.

“E-mail has become the 21st century’s ‘cover your butt’ technique of choice. It’s also become the interpersonal coward’s device of choice,” he said.

That’s the reason why he came up with the idea of “No e-mail Fridays,” a day when workers revert to phone or face-to-face communication.

But not everyone is convinced switching email off is the answer to stress and poor productivity.

Nancy Flynn, executive director of the ePolicy Institute, a Columbus, Ohio, training and consulting firm, supported the idea of no e-mail one day a week, but added a warning: “When you try to take e-mail away from some users, they’re going to panic.”

However Dr. Siegel maintains that the benefit is increased productivity once you get over those initial panic attacks.

“E-mail is a tool with clear and viable uses and benefits. Communication isn’t one of them. Businesses and individuals need to set guidelines when it should be used and when it shouldn’t be used. And we’ll all be better off once we do it,” he said. (ANI)

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