On the way home one night I was listening to a radio show arguing about whether “email wastes your time?”

The presenter was talking to the CEO of two sports clubs in NSW who said he had been wasting at least four hours per day answering emails and was wondering why he felt so overburdened. He felt as though he was nearly on the divorce line, was not spending any time with his kids and never had enough hours in the day to complete everything. After a lot of thought and looking at why the hours in the day seemed to have decreased he made an executive decision company-wide to reduce the use of email. He implemented this two years ago and within six weeks felt a huge relief. He had managed to claw back hours in the day, had time to spend with the kids and saved his marriage.

On reflection, he said that he sat down with his team to try to work out why they were all so time poor – they took a reality check and the answer that was staring them in the face was “EMAIL”.

Now this is not to say email should be a big ‘no-no’; you still need an email account for essential tasks but it is not there to set up meetings or have a chat or gossip on. This gentleman still has email but only looks at it once a week of which it takes about 20 mins to run through.

The example that he gave which is so close to home for us in recruitment is a colleague that sat in the next room to him was trying to organise a meeting (it took him 11 emails to get this right). If he had just picked up the phone or wandered into the office it would have been done in 30 seconds not over three days.

I can hear you say that email is the way business is done today ……well is it? If you are in the Customer Service game you need to be speaking to your customers face to face or on the phone, not hiding behind email. In some jobs it is essential; for example the CEO said in his Accounts Payable team all of the invoices these days are emailed through, so in that case his accounts lady did use email extensively. Here at Optimum Consulting all our contractors email in their timesheets so our Payroll Staff need to be on email BUT this does not mean if they need to notify me of an issue that they email it through to me – why can’t they just tell me in person or phone me?

Looking at myself, out of my emails that came in on Friday I had over 50, of which 3 were from the outside contacts, the rest were from my internal colleagues. Why are we not communicating this amongst ourselves? What did we used to do? How did we used to communicate? We sit in an open plan office where I can speak to everyone.

Have a look at your own inbox and look at what is in there – you will be surprised at what is actually considered email quality compared to “junk”.

After a little bit of research I also discovered large corporation like Aldi, Asos, and VW have stopped/reduced their emails and or blackberry.

Emails were originally designed for sending documents around the world, not for what it seems to be used for today.

Ask anyone today what the biggest timewaster is in their day and they normally say “email”.

Alicia Sumich – Group Manager; Business Development

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