In 2020, there were a reported 4.03 billion email users, and a staggering 306.4 billion emails sent every day. Email users have since increased to 4.147 billion in 2021, and are predicted to increase to 4.4 billion by 2023. Despite the fact that it makes email the most popular means of communication, it by no means makes it the most effective.
Whilst I fully appreciate the place it has in this modern world we live in, if you ask anyone who knows me, has worked with me, or currently works with me, they will tell you that I absolutely detest email. Here’s why…
In an earlier blog where I delved into The AFFECTLI OPZ philosophy and referenced my friend and mentor, Dr Robert C. Maybery, who has mastered the widely known, respected and trusted Peak Performance Management system, it boils down to a shared passion and vision – optimizing efficiencies within the workplace that help people work smarter – not harder.
Why? Simply put: Time is money and inefficiencies cost organisations millions of Dollars in lost productivity and revenues.
Dr Cal Newport is a computer scientist who recently released a thought provoking book, “A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload”. Whilst he may have pipped me to the post on that one, it is encouraging to see peers and subject matter experts share my passion on the topic because we have spent the past 15 years developing Hyper Contextual Collaboration through the engineering of our platform, AFFECTLI.
In an article published earlier this year in GQ, Dr Newport references the increased stress and work pressures created by the fact that the average worker only has a total of 75 minutes within their work day where they are NOT checking in on their mailbox. That’s 75 minutes out of an 8 hour / 480 minute work day – or rather – 15% of their work day – that they are productive and focusing exclusively on the job they were employed to do. Granted! Some of that time spent is relevant to that particular employee’s function, but it remains significantly marginal.
He goes on to reference in his book that the human brain isn’t wired to jump between “executing work tasks” and “managing an always-present, ongoing, and overloaded electronic conversation about those tasks.”. It goes without saying that the added work pressures of electronic conversations results in further workplace inefficiencies.
If you’re still not convinced that email results in a significant loss of productivity and revenues to an organisation, here’s more…
Adobe conducted a survey in 2018 among 1,000 office workers in the USA, and found that they spent an average of 3.1 hours a day on work email, plus 2.5 hours per weekday on personal email. That equates to 5.6 hours of valuable time each day JUST to manage emails!
In 2019, the average wage in the USA was $51,916.27 per year.
Assuming the employment contract was an average of 40 hours per week, this equates to a cost of $24.96 per hour; $139.78 per day; and $36.341.76 per year – 70% of an (average) annual salary being paid to skilled workers to manage emails, or $20,017.76 per year, assuming that working hours were ONLY dedicated to work-related emails.
But then the rabbit hole of cost implications goes even deeper when you consider the negative side effects and cost implications to an organisation when…
- Excessive emails add unnecessary stress to employees and result in a loss of productivity.
Research by Campaign Monitor revealed that in 2020, the average office worker received an estimated 120 (work related) emails per day, and Templafy reported that a mere 40 emails are sent per day. It goes to reason that a mere 33% of emails are estimated to be relevant to individual employees. And we have all found ourselves in the position whereby you find yourself wasting valuable time filtering through unnecessary emails to establish relevance, making sure that the right people are addressed, copied or blind copied onto mails to ensure that the correct people are being kept in the loop, actioning tasks and meeting deadlines.
- Disjointed conversations that don’t provide context.
Take a project, for example… Each department has their set of tasks in order to achieve a set goal, and along with that, will have their own independent email trails tracking documents, progress, conversations and relevant information to the task at hand. But what happens when something goes wrong, or a critical piece of the puzzle falls through the cracks that results in a negative impact on the project as a whole!? The task of gathering and working through the disjointed sets of information to identify where the problem lies is not only time consuming, but could also be detrimental to the outcome of the task at hand – especially if it’s of a time-sensitive nature that could adversely affect a sale, or lead to a breakdown of vital equipment that results in a manufacturing plant needing to be shut down while the problem is being attended to.
- Loss in conversations, tasks and files.
When an employee leaves an organisation (and even more so, a disgruntled employee), vital information pertaining to business including tasks, files and conversations could potentially be lost forever.
- Sensitive information can be compromised.
We’ve all made that blunder at least once, whereby the incorrect person was included in an email that was not intended for them, and of course, we know what the implications of “leaked” confidential information can result in. The financial and/or reputational damage to an organisation could potentially be catastrophic.
- Informed decision making is compromised due to a lack of the information.
Within various departments of an organization, groups of people work within silos and rely on disparate systems pertinent to their job function. For Managers and C-suite executives to make informed decisions that drive their business, they rely on multiple reports from the respective departments, and assuming there has been no human error in the reporting, and that all reports are delivered timeously, those individuals are still left with the task of consolidating and working through multiple sets of information to arrive at a departure point.
“If you design workflows that allow knowledge workers to spend most of their time focusing without distraction on the activities for which they’re trained, you’ll produce much more total value than if you instead require these same workers to diffuse their attention among many different activities. This latter course is often the more convenient option in the moment, but rarely the most productive in the long term.”
– Dr Cal Newport : A World Without Email
Collaboration has turned strategic and here’s why…
Dr Newport said it in his book, and I´ve been working with my team for the past 15 years to address this major inefficiency within organisations – and that mission was to create Human Centric technology that designs workflows, drives contextual collaboration and communication, and ensures that the right people get the right information at the right time. We refer to it as the Hyper Contextual Collaboration (HCC) approach as a critical and significant cost-saving tool for any organisation.
When we introduced one of our clients to AFFECTLI’s HCC functionality, one of the matrix focals was to measure how many emails we could save the client every month. Their implementation included a NOC of 400 people and 3,000 users, and within the first 30 days, we were able to reduce these by a staggering 14 million emails.
Naturally, we don’t achieve results like this on our own – we engineer with the best-of-the-best underlying technology, components, engines and partners that offer the right functionality to bring our vision to life, and we take great care in choosing partners that we respect and trust. One such partner that is integral in our HCC approach is the Rocket.Chat engine that has been integrated into our platform.
Rocket.Chat is headed up by CEO and co-founder Gabriel Engel who I’ve come to consider a great friend and highly respected visionary. Not only does his technology meet our exacting demands, but he shares our vision on strategic, contextual collaboration and equally important, our stance on data privacy.
It has to be said again: Time is money and inefficiencies cost organisations millions of Dollars in lost productivity and revenues. And since we’re in the business of making people more efficient, more effective and organisation more productive, perhaps the added context to my aversion to email for more than a decade is clearer now…
If you’re looking to save time and money through the adoption of Hyper Contextual Collaboration within your organisation and improve workflows that drive contextual collaboration and communication within a secure platform, please feel free to reach out to us for a demo or to discuss your needs for a tailored solution by emailing get in touch.