Countless articles and blog entries have debated whether measures such as the National Broadband Network or Work Choices would boost the productivity of the Australian economy, which runs at around 85-90% of the US productivity level. Despite all the analysis and debate, it’s possible we have overlooked a major potential productivity gain that could come through teaching people how to manage their email better.
A new study by IBM has found that email is a major source of workplace stress:
Getting on top of email is possible, though, no matter how high-profile or demanding your job. The basic principles are:
1. check email only once every 2-3 hours (if something is truly urgent the desperate person will pick up the phone or drop by)
2. process all your emails at once (e.g. action if a quick simple reply is all that is needed, delete, archive, or file away for action or review at a later time – i.e. don’t let a new email alter your priorities for the day unless something truly is on fire). Aim for zero messages in your inbox.
A Government media campaign to promote better email management might be a cheap, cost-effective way to get some easy gains in workplace productivity.