Internet Psychologist Graham Jones has called for businesses to take steps to limit their reliance on email. According to Graham Jones email is responsible for reductions in office productivity as well as being a potential cause of health issues, including mental health problems.
“Evidence is mounting up from various studies that people are spending too much time on email,” said Mr Jones, “One study shows that people check their email inbox 37 times every hour. That is the kind of behaviour you might associate with some kind of obsession or addiction.”
Email overload forces people to spend too long at their computers, says Mr Jones, adding to potential health issues due to lack of activity. Furthermore, the stress of constantly checking email is a psychological issue for many people, he said.
“Most email is unnecessary,” said Graham Jones, “and research shows you actually perform better in the office if you do not send an email, but get up from your desk and go and talk to someone”.
He added: “Studies show we are less productive as a result of email; it is a fallacy to believe that email makes businesses efficient. It does not, it actually reduces productivity.”
Mr Jones advises companies to ensure that their staff work towards an empty inbox at the end of each working day and only check email messages twice during the working day. The rest of the time he suggests they are better off with face-to-face meetings and with telephone calls.
“Not only does email reduce personal interaction, it also helps make people feel they are busy when they are not. You only need to check your inbox a couple of times a day and deal with messages at specified times in your diary. Constantly checking and replying to emails is a recipe for business disaster as well as human suffering,” he said.