Overloaded With Email? You're One of the Few.

December 9, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - If you're buried under an ever-growing swarm of emails - you're one of the few, according to a new survey.

Yes, hard as it is to believe, about 60% of workers surveyed by the Washington-based Pew Internet & American Life Project said they receive an average of 10 or fewer messages per day, according to the Washington Post.   In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents said “e-mail is not a problem whatsoever,” while roughly a third (30%) manage to stay on top of it.   A paltry 4% said they felt under siege.

However, if you’re one of those who DO feel a bit overwhelmed – and who doubt the veracity of the findings, you have some company in Deborah Fallows, a senior research fellow at Pew and author of the study, who said the findings shocked her, according to the Post report.   She personally gets too many e-mails, and so do most of the people she knows.

In fact, more than half (52%) of respondents said they receive no “spam” or junk email at work.  Nearly one in five said that the spam they did receive made up less than 10% of the mail they received.

“Keeping Up” Appearances

According to the report, Fallows said the counterintuitive results show there is a relatively small and vocal group of workers, roughly 15-20% of the population, who are what she calls “power e-mailers” – who deal with high volumes of e-mail, that is the get about 50 messages/day, and send more than 20.  Not surprisingly, they were also the most likely to check their in-box several times an hour, and many said they spend two hours a day dealing with e-mail. Fallows said the power e-mailers tend to have jobs related to technology or the Internet.

Pew surveyed 2,447 Internet users, 1,003 of which use e-mail at work, by conducting random phone calls across the country. The study only concentrated on e-mail in the workplace. Had it also included e-mail use at home, the findings would have been vastly different, Fallows said.

However, the Pew study did say that about a quarter of work e-mailers find e-mail distracting – and one in five say e-mail has caused misunderstandings on the job.  Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents said email helps them communicate with more people and saves time, and about 59% said e-mail has improved teamwork.  Still, the vast majority (85%) of those who e-mail at work said they preferred face-to-face contact when talking to someone about workplace problems and sensitive issues.

Wonder how many have come in while you’ve been reading this?