Email Efficacy in the Workplace

As workplace communication, do employees even read them?

by Matt Baglia

A It’s commonly assumed email is the best way to reach people in the workplace, but the numbers are starting to tell a different story. In a recent survey SlickText conducted on workplace communication preferences, 60.8 percent of respondents said they ignore emails at work — whether from HR or another sender — and almost one out of two respondents said receiving fewer emails on the clock would increase their happiness. So, how can co-workers and employees be contacted in ways they’ll actually appreciate? Here are the key takeaways from the survey “Chances Are, Your Employees Aren’t Reading Your Emails.”

Fewer Emails Could Be the Key to Happiness for Some
People tend to think receiving fewer emails at work will increase their work satisfaction. In the survey, 14 percent of respondents said that receiving fewer emails would greatly increase work satisfaction and 33.7 percent said it would occasionally impact how they feel about their jobs — making that about half the workforce who could be made happier just by reducing the amount of email. Some respondents — 43.8 percent — said the amount of emails they receive has no impact on their job satisfaction while 8.5% of people said receiving fewer emails would actually decrease their work satisfaction.

For those who want to start cutting back on email, there are several ways to approach it. A start is to practice mindfulness before hitting “send,” avoiding hasty follow-up emails by considering whether the email covers all discussion points about the topic. For a stronger approach to reducing email, an option is to switch to text message or chat apps whenever possible, as both these communication methods, with their different strengths, tend to be more palatable for recipients than email.

Emails Often Get Ignored
If one sometimes feels like people just aren’t reading the emails one sends them, the facts may support that impression. The survey found that 45.6 percent of respondents occasionally ignore emails at work, 12.4 percent often ignore emails at work and 2.8 percent always ignore emails at work. In total, 60.8 percent of people are ignoring emails at least some of the time. A total of 39.2 percent of people said they never ignore emails, but, when it comes to contacting the rest, perhaps it’s time to rethink one’s communication strategy to involve other forms of contact, such as chat apps or text message, to really make sure one’s message is getting across.

Don’t Rely on Email After Hours
Perhaps the most significant time that people ignore email is when they aren’t on the clock. The survey found that only 11.9 percent of employees always check their email after hours. While 19 percent of employees said they often check their email after hours, 39.1 percent indicated they occasionally check their email after hours and 30 percent replied they never do. Those who have an urgent message that needs to be communicated before the start of work the next day, sending an email isn’t likely to get through to many of the intended recipients.

Matt Baglia is the co-founder and CEO of SlickText. SlickText provides business and organizations across North America with SMS marketing and mass text messaging solutions to help people communicate with the masses.

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