I once saw an article that described email as ‘a tool that tells you what other people’s priorities are’. This appealed to me when I read it, probably because it helps to justify the 630 unopened messages in my inbox.
Nevertheless, research by the McKinsey Global Institute has found workers spend 28 per cent of their time in the office – more than a quarter of the working week - reading and answering their email.
The study also found role-specific tasks take up 39 per cent of time. Searching and gathering information accounts for 19 per cent, and communicating and collaborating internally just 14 per cent.
The consultancy goes on to point out that it believes worker productivity could be boosted by between 20–25 per cent if companies adopt ‘social technologies’, such as filesharing, crowdsourcing and wikis. That’s all very exciting, although I’m still waiting for the ‘paperless office’ to become a reality, so forgive my scepticism as to whether this will ever happen.