A press release recently claimed that 1 in 5 UK workers spend 32 days per year managing their email. This finding is based on a survey of 1,000 UK workers by Star, a provider of on-demand computing and communication services to UK businesses. The survey revealed that 19% of employees spend up to an hour each day managing emails, with another20% spending more than an hour each day. Do the math, and that’s the equivalent of 32.5, 8-hour work days a year.
Surprised? I’m not. But the first question that comes to mind is: What does “managing” email entail? The press release doesn’t define “email management,” but other organizations have noted the following activities:
- Searching for older emails for reuse and reference in both their mailbox and PSTs
- Recreating data that can’t be found during mailbox and PST search
- Responding to IT notices to delete emails and keep mailboxes within functional limits
- Creating PSTs of older emails to keep (outside the system) for later reference
The survey also revealed that 57% of workers struggle to retrieve email older than three months.
Assuming these numbers reflect our real life avalanche of email, the logical follow-on question is: How does this lost time affect overall corporate productivity? I’ve taken a stab at answering this question by using some rough figures to calculate what this might be costing organizations and how potentially it leads to lost revenue. Let’s assume:
- Average time spent “managing email”: 1 hr per work day/per worker
- Assume a fully-burdened (including benefits) annual salary: $125,000
- 40-hr work week, 50 weeks per year (assuming a 2-week vacation)
- Average hourly salary of this worker[($125,000/50 weeks)/40 hrs per week = $62.50/hr]
With these assumptions, we can speculate the following: $62.50/hour x 5hrs/week x 50 weeks/ year = $15,625—that is, what email could be costing companies every year for every employee.
Then we have to ask: How does mailbox management affect an employee’s ability to help the company earn revenue? It’s obviously not a 1 for 1 tradeoff, but I would argue that some percentage of those hours spent on mailbox management affects employee revenue generation. Think about it this way: That time spent looking for old emails in the general mailbox, specific folders, PSTs as well as time spent on recreating data that can’t be found could have been spent on work more directly impacting revenue growth.
Let’s be conservative and figure 40% of this lost time could have been put toward revenue generating activity. If we multiply this 40% by the above number of $15,625, or the per-employee cost of managing their email each year, we get $6,250 per employee per year of lost revenue. In a mid-sized organization of say 2,000 employees, this represents $ 12.5 million in potentially lost annual revenue. And in this economic climate, what organization can afford to lose revenue?
Recovering mailbox management lost revenue
A proven way to recover much of that 5 hours per week per employee of lost productivity is through more effective email system management with an email archiving solution. An email archive captures, indexes, single instances, manages and disposes of mailbox data centrally. How does this affect the mailbox management problem? First, if all mailbox data is being captured and made searchable by the employee centrally, employees no longer need to spend time moving, deleting or copying old email data to PSTs. The central email archive provides that functionality automatically. Second, because the mailbox data is completely indexed, employees can search for and quickly find all mailbox data they need for reference or reuse. That number of 5 hours per week can be reduced to less than 30 minutes per week thereby recovering much of that lost productivity.
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