Electronic Excess: Microsoft research finds employees spend 11 hours a week handling emails
“An employee receives on average 620 a week, with each email taking up roughly a minute of their time, this harms productivity," says National Technology Officer at Microsoft Israel
Maayan Manela | 13:49 25.01.2021
Eleven hours a week. That’s the amount of time that we dedicate to managing and organizing our emails according to a Microsoft study that also found that 28% of employees’ time is spent on reading and answering emails. In an age that emails make up just a portion of the communications onslaught that also includes Whastapp groups, internal communications tools like Teams or Slack, social media networks, video conferences, phone calls, and chats, it’s surprising that employees manage to get any work done at all. “We are in a world characterized by a flood of communication and data, but it is divided among our various online personas. There may be a work Whatsapp group, but there are also the consumer and social groups that we belong to. When it comes to the flood of emails, we witnessed that an employee receives on average 620 a week, with each email taking up roughly a minute of their time, this harms productivity because the email may not even require the employee to take action and they were simply CC’d on it. We conduct a lot of research on this kind of data in an effort to boost employee productivity,” says Dr. Tomer Simon, National Technology Officer at Microsoft Israel. Simon stressed that Microsoft does not look at the email’s content as part of the study, only at the types of correspondence. The data shows that at the end of the day, roughly half of an employee’s time is spent searching for information and handling emails. The burden also depends on the way people read their emails and the device they do it on. Ninety percent of people read emails on their smartphones in the mornings and evenings and use their computers during the day. A majority (85%) of emails are read on smartphones but answered on the computer, meaning 75% are read again on the computer.