Study: Workers spend quarter of day checking email

Posted at 5:54 PM, Aug 02, 2012

Got mail? It sounds like workers have too much of it, actually.

A new study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that employees spend about 2.6 hours a day sifting through emails. That means employees’ spend about 28 percent of their day sending, receiving or sorting out emails instead of doing their jobs. 

If you add it up, and exclude an average two-week vacation grace period, the total amount spent reading email equals about 26 days a year!

Some say that email is a double-edged sword; employers need it to work, but it interferes with getting work done. The McKinsey survey suggested that companies should use social networking in the workplace to help decrease email overlaod and boost both collaboration and productivity.

The Daily Mail pointed out that smartphones and laptops have extended the work day to about 12 hours, because workers stay connected to work email from home. On the flip side, at work, technology allows non-work social activities to enter the work day.

Regardless, experts said email is the preferred work tool. Experts also recommend that if you get inundated with email to the point it interfers with work, create a strategy.

Experts suggest checking it at specific times of day, and create files for order of importance.

The research was based on a typical working week of 46 hours, and based on a survey of “knowledge workers.” The firm’s definition included,“managers, salespeople, scientists, and others whose jobs consist primarily of interactions—with other employees, customers, and suppliers—and complex decision making based on knowledge and judgement.”