Over Half Of Our Time At Work Is Spent Emailing
August 2, 2012

Email At Work, Social Media Eat Up Worker Productivity

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Do you ever feel like you deal with work emails more than you actually work?  Well, you´re not alone, according to a new study.

A new study found that office workers spend 61 percent of their time dealing with emails, retrieving information and collaborating.

The researchers found that an average staff spends 28 hours a week on writing emails, searching for information and attempting to "collaborate" with colleagues. Just 39 percent of workers' time throughout a week is actually spent on performing tasks, according to the study.

McKinsey Global Institute's report, "The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies," used IDC data and found that 28 percent of time workers spend is on reading, writing and responding to emails. Another 19 percent of time is spent tracking down information to help them complete their task.

Fourteen percent of the average work week is spent communicating and collaborating internally, the report said.

McKinsey Global Institute suggests using social media technologies to communicate more efficiently, helping to reduce communication costs, improve worker access to knowledge, lower travel costs, increase employee satisfaction, reduce operational costs, and even increase revenue by 10 percent.

The social media technologies include internal tweets, blogs, posting information and documents to a feed, and sharing posts, as well as video and audio files.

The report says that increased productivity cannot be achieved "simply by installing social software." It said tools need to be accompanied by management change and commitment.

"Just because it's a more contemporary form of communication it doesn't change that people still need to be ready and have the right mindset for it," Dr Gavin Schwarz, Associate Professor at the Australian School of Business, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

McKinsey Global Institute says that improving communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise productivity of  workers by 20 to 25 percent.

"These technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four sectors," the report read.

In order to fully reap the benefits of social technologies, organizations need to transform their structures, processes, and cultures, the report said.

"Ultimately, the power of social technologies hinges on the full and enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected," the report read. "Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the technologies themselves."