Skip to main content

How the Seven Sins of Email Hurt Your Business

The Seven Deadly Sins of Business email:
  1. Ping pong -- constant emails back and forth creating long chains
  2. Emailing out of hours
  3. Emailing while in company
  4. Ignoring emails completely
  5. Requesting read receipts
  6. Responding immediately to an email alert
  7. Automated replies
According to research just released, employees obsessed with checking their emails could be damaging their own mental health and that of their colleagues.  How?

Recommended Reading
Click image for details
Dr Emma Russell, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology at Kingston Business School, believes she has identified the seven deadly email sins that can lead to 'negative repercussions' if not handled correctly.  She identified seven habits which can be positive if used in moderation but are likely to have a negative impact if not handled correctly.

"This research reminds us that even though we think we are using strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of them can be detrimental to other goals and the people that we work with."

Some create a problem for the sender rather than the receiver, she said, as they can lead to them giving out the wrong impression or not remaining in control of what they are doing. For example,
  • having email alerts switched on and responding to email immediately can have positive benefits if one wants to show concern to the person who has emailed them. However, it may have negative repercussions in terms of the sender feeling that responding to emails is taking them away from other tasks and impacting on their sense of well-being.
Some of the worst habits include 'ping pong' messages back and forth and 'read receipts', which accompany every missive sent, the study, looking into which email practices stress employees out, found.

"Back in the dial-up era, when going online had a cost implication, most people checked email maybe once a day and often responded to mails as soon as they read them. Now with broadband and 3G, unlimited numbers of messages can be streamed to you via your smartphone at any time of the day or night.

However many of us haven't adapted our behavior to what can seem like a constant stream of mails," Dr Russell explained. Responding to out of hours emails, for instance, may make an employee look keen but it can also mean workers find it difficult to switch off, according to the study. "This puts pressure on staff to be permanently on call and makes those they are dealing with feel the need to respond," Dr Russell explained. "Some workers became so obsessed by email that they even reported experiencing so-called 'phantom alerts' where they think their phone has vibrated or bleeped with an incoming email when in fact it has not. Others said they felt they needed to physically hold their smartphone when they were not at their desk so that they were in constant email contact."

Email ping pong, where messages are responded to immediately by both sides until a very long chain builds up, are particularly hated by many of those involved.

Editor's Note:  This research confirms the work of many, that having little or no boundary between an employee's job and private life is stressful, and stress is the number one cause of everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's.  The point is, you, the employer, has to respect the boundaries between the work and the personal lives of your employees.  You must establish policies that set limits to protect your employees.  Another way of putting it is that an employee who makes him or herself available to your business 24/7, is not an asset.  He or she is a danger to themselves and to your other employees.
*  *  *  *  *
Story Source: Kingston University. "You've got mail: Research reveals workers' worst inbox sins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Facts of the Small Business Survival Rate

Back thirty years ago when I first wrote about small business, a hoary and horrible statistic was bandied about, even by some of the most experienced entrepreneurial pros: "80% of new businesses fail in their first five years." 

This "statistic" has appeared in more places than you can imagine, from the leading small business magazines, books, presentations by employees of SBDCs, the SBA, SCORE, Chambers of Commerce, even professors on the college level - who should know better than to quote un-sourced numbers.  It still shows up in small-business blogs today.

For some years, I searched for a source of that statisitic.  Never found where that number came from, leading me to believe that some self-appointed expert made it up.  To quote a character from the popular television show, M*A*S*H, "Horsepucky." 

Here is the truth about the survival rate of new start up businesses in the U.S. economy from two unimpeachable sources, The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundati…

Earn a Living Shining Shoes. . . Really

Earning a Living as a Bootblack
Can someone make a living shining shoes in today's economy?  At on time there shoe shine boys as they were called were found on street corners across the country, thousands of them.  Many were from poor families and worked to help support themselves and their families.  Today, I found three established shoe shine stands in downtown Seattle, plus two bootblacks, the traditional name of those who shine shoes, working on the streets of Seattle.

Meet George Johnson, age 74 on October 20th, a self-employed operator of a shoe shine stand in downtown Seattle's Rainier Place.  George has been shining shoes for the last sixty years, starting in Arkansas and ending up some thirty years ago at the Washington Athletic club a few blocks from his current location.
"Sixty years," I asked him the day we met.  "You ever think of retiring?"

"Gonna work until I can't do it no more," he replied.  "I don't even think about i…

Illegal Immigrants Start Legal L.L.C.'s, Create Jobs While Awaiting Deportation

The situation is a little like a story from the Twilight Zone.

Illegal immigrants can't get driving licenses, vote, or get benefits, but they are legally able to start Limited Liability Companies often creating jobs for legal U.S. Citizens.  All the while waiting to find out if they are going to be deported because they are, admittedly in most cases, in this country illegally.

It's long established that new immigrants to the U.S. are far more likely to start a business, and in so doing, create jobs often filled by U.S. citizens.  I mean, the sun rises in the East, the sky is blue, and immigrants create jobs - it's that level of certainty.

So why do certain elements in Congress,  allegedly pro-business, pro-growth, and pro-job, scream and yell about immigration as though it's a total drain on the economy?  If anything, immigration has been and will continue to be a boon to our economy, creating both wealth, new jobs and even new industries.

Here's an article from the L…