Email epidemic

button,keyboard,confusedIt is hard to remember that it wasn’t long ago that there was no email system.

Nowadays most of us are being swamped. One no longer needs to do any work.  One can just sit in front of the PC and wait for emails to roll in. Then you can respond to them and by that time, a few more will have arrived. So the cycle continues until home time and when you get home, your partner asks you what you did today and you answer that you don’t know.

The email system has undoubtedly created great efficiencies but it has also done the exact opposite. It is one of the curses of modern times and it is one of the worst culprits with regard to a drop in productivity.

Something needs to be done before it is too late.

One suggestion is to have emails delivered only once a day at say 10am. The recipient can answer these at their leisure but the response in return, will not be received until 10am the next day.

The footer at the bottom of the email could read as follows:

This inbox will be cleared only once a day at 10am. If urgent and if you are within 100 metres of my workstation, please pop over and let’s talk. If urgent and you are over 100 metres away, please call me.

This email epidemic is prevalent in many businesses but none more so than retail.  And it is practiced at all levels in the organisation sometimes marked URGENT from your boss. What this means is that you need to drop everything you are doing and react.

I believe that the email system will go down in history as one of the biggest obstacles to getting work done.

A backlash is looming.

Another factor is the expectation emails create.

Have you ever received a call from someone asking for a response to their email?  And invariably the email was sent an hour or two beforehand if you are lucky.

There is a difference between having a sense of urgency and the need to get things done versus a culture of panic and frenetic activity pretending to be work.

There is also a stress factor. Email stress.

Where is your organisation with regard to email culture? And are you prepared to give the above a try for a week and judge the reaction?

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702


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