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Taxpayer-Funded Email

According to research cited in The Washington Post last year, office workers spend an average of 4.1 hours checking email every day. That’s half the workday!

Citing a different study, the article states that the average employee absorbed no less than 90 incoming emails per day in 2016.

In my book, email is a productivity-killer, particularly in the federal workplace, for a few reasons:
  • You’re expected to respond to incoming inquiries right away. The capacity to take time out to reflect is blocked, and strategic thinking is frequently interrupted. 
  • It wastes time as there are frequently too many people on the To: and Cc: lines.
  • Due to the impossibility of reading body language, minor misunderstandings are magnified by our imaginations.
  • The time it takes to resolve a matter balloons as inquiries sit on someone’s desk rather than being discussed, researched and resolved. 

If we stopped relying so much on email, we could re-allocate our time and money:
  • We could spend more time brainstorming and piloting innovative ways to better serve our customers.
  • We could hire more people to fill short-staffed positions.
  • We could spend more time developing our skills and abilities to align with best-in-class public and private sector organizations.
  • We could spend more time actually talking to our colleagues, and building the informal social glue that keeps an organization running smoothly. 
  • We could reduce the soul-crushing misery of dealing with the consequences of unintended miscommunication.

Do you agree with me that email is often a huge waste of taxpayer money?

By Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is public domain.

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