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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

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

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?’ ”