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Updated Aug 2, 2012 - 8:35 am

Survey: Quarter of workday taken up by email

PHOENIX -- You've got mail. Especially at work.

And a lot of the workday is spent reading and answering email.

A new survey by the McKinsey Global Institute said office workers spend an average of 2.6 hours a day dealing with email on the job. That comes out to about 27 workdays a year and about 28 percent of their day.

Michael Hayes of Momentum Specialized Staffing in Phoenix said many times, it's unnecessary.

"When I was working in a big company, about 75 percent of the emails came from inside the company," said Hayes. "Sometimes it was from somebody who was less than 50 feet away from your desk."

Hayes said many interoffice emails are sent so that people can cover themselves if something goes wrong.

"There's always this constant demand to ... make sure you're not going to have any issues," Hayes said.

When there's a problem, Hayes said "Everybody's response is: 'You know, I sent you an email.' It was a way to say 'How come you didn't respond to it or drop everything immediately?' "

Hayes said that workers keep copies of emails, thinking that email is a "get out of jail free card. It's proof that I alerted so-and-so to an issue that was going on."

The survey said that smartphones and laptops keep employees constantly checking their work e-mails, which effectively stretches their eight-hour work day into roughly 12 hours.

Hayes said that employees are starting to keep track of the hours they spend dealing with work email on their own time.

Hayes said, "Let's say if they get fired, they'll go to their employer and say 'You know, I've been keeping track of all of this extra time. What are you going to do with it?' "

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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