Blogs

Jo Geraghty

Director

E-mail stress – there’s an app for that

Date added: 21st Jan 2016
Category: Employee Engagement

The key to removing email stress is for organisations to build a communication policy into their culture which encourages people to respect and think of others

You know how it is; you’ve just settled down to write a tricky report when ‘ping’ another email pops into your inbox, demanding your instant attention. Even if you read and immediately discarded it your train of thought has been disturbed and with statistics showing that it can easily take 20 minutes to get back on track that report is getting ever closer to the deadline.

Email stress has been identified as one of the prime, and growing, challenges in the workplace. It’s a subject about which we have written a number of occasions and no doubt it’s a subject that will re-occur on a fairly regular basis. Irrespective of the rise in other forms of communication, emails are still the go-to message medium for businesses. Unfortunately, because they are so easy and so quick emails are also an ideal way for the lazy or disengaged to cover their backs by copying all and sundry into every communication.

It’s all very well for best practice advice to recommend that people only look at their emails at set times or use rules to divert messages from certain companies or individuals into a ‘mañana’ box; but it is in our nature to respond to the call so we add to our own stress by instantly reacting to messages as they arrive. Now Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has proposed another solution; an app which stores email messages and only delivers them to inboxes once every day. The idea has given rise to much discussion with responses varying from ‘great idea’ to ‘just wouldn’t work.’

Regardless of whatever solution is employed, the key to removing email stress is for organisations to build a communication policy into their culture which encourages people to respect and think of others before they send e-mails out. It’s a logical extension of the culture of care which is built into the behaviours and expectations of organisations which see employees and customers as valued people rather than as numbers. Do we need an app to relieve email stress? Not really; but what we do need is a culture of thought and of care.

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