The average British worker receives 1,728 pointless emails in a typical year a study has found.

Emails detailing trivial information such as ‘organising a whip around’, ‘please sponsor me’ and the reams of polite ‘happy birthday’ emails topped the list of irritating topics.

As does mail with subject headings such as ‘the printer has broken’ and ‘can we turn the air con down?’

The poll by Sennheiser Communications, specialists in premium headsets, found mundane emails about fire drills, Secret Santa and running out of milk were also viewed as futile by busy workers.

The poll of 2,000 office workers found a third said they have someone in their team who is known for sending pointless emails and half said they have colleagues that copy in ‘everyone and anyone’ to round robin emails.

Not surprisingly, 53 per cent of those polled said they wish everyone picked the phone up and spoke more to one another, rather than clogging-up inboxes with wasted emails.

And over two thirds said things are far less likely to be misconstrued when there has been a physical conversation opposed to an email trail.

Charlotte Gaskin, Marketing Manager at Sennheiser Communications said: ‘’We are used to firing off emails for even the slightest thing.

‘’But it seems like some of the more mundane requests can be avoided. Copying in lots of people to emails does seem to be a bugbear of British workers.

Sometimes it’s more effective to have a face to face conversation or just pick-up the phone. This way there’s less room for misinterpretation as well.’’

Electronic mail introducing new starters, messages about the lottery syndicate and missing food from the fridge were also deemed pointless by time stretched workers.

Not surprisingly, staff members also recoiled when emails about blocked toilets dropped in to their inbox.

So it’s no wonder that nearly three quarters of respondents said their colleagues fire off emails about the slightest thing.

The poll also found 38 per cent of adults said they have sent an email that has been taken the wrong way, with the recipient thinking they were being rude, sarcastic or upset.

And writing emails in capital letters causes havoc with employees, with more than two thirds of Brits saying they feel like they are being shouted at.

And half of people said it irritates them when the person sat next to them sends them an email instead of just talking to them.

But 25 per cent said they’re usually emailing because they are talking about someone behind their back.

And 24 per cent said they like to make out they are working, when in reality they are just typing emails to their pals.

The study found 67 per cent of workers reckon they send more emails than they make phone calls, with seven in ten claiming it’s easier and one in five confessing to not being confident on the phone.

One in ten even say they are often scared to pick up the phone and talk.

In contrast the best email to receive were ones that included pay slips, juicy bits of gossip and those detailing birthday cakes in the kitchen or canteen.

Charlotte Gaskin concluded: ‘’It’s clear many people tend to hide behind emails, rather than have a telephone call.

‘’But phone calls don’t leave room for error and making a call is usually easier than writing an email, especially with the wide range of professional headsets we offer, which mean your voice can be heard in HD sound clarity.

‘’Headsets allow you to be hands free and multitask to allow for even the most hectic of working days.

“You’re also far more likely to resolve an issue quickly and correctly. Perhaps it’s time we all started using our voices a little more often.”


  • Please sponsor me emails
  • Happy birthday emails
  • Introducing new starters
  • The printer has broken down
  • There is going to be a fire alarm
  • Secret Santa
  • Congratulatory emails about ‘a job well done’
  • Can everyone chip in for a whip around please
  • Someone’s car has left their lights on
  • Debates over the temperature of the aircon
  • Sweepstake for the lottery
  • Sweepstake for the Grand National
  • The toilet is blocked
  • Food has gone missing from the fridge
  • The fridge needs cleaning
  • Whose photocopying is left on the photocopier
  • Ran out of milk
  • Has anyone seen my building pass?
  • Someone is blocking me in in the car park
  • Someone has stolen my stapler / calculator / etc.
  • Whose turn is it to make tea?
  • There aren’t any tea bags / coffee left
  • Someone has stolen my mug
  • Someone has used their favourite mug
  • The bins need emptying
  • Dishwasher needs empting
  • There isn’t any toilet roll left
  • Anyone got the keys to the pool car

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