Excessive emails damaging UK office workers’ productivity, study finds

Office workers are increasingly bogged down with emails and juggling work across different platforms, new research finds

Shafi Musaddique
Thursday 30 November 2017 15:00 GMT
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Britain has one of the lowest productivity levels in Europe
Britain has one of the lowest productivity levels in Europe

Excessive emails are increasingly hampering the productivity of UK workers, a new study has found.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents in a survey of 2,000 office workers said that receiving too many emails stopped them from getting work done, an increase from 52 per cent last year, according to tech firm Workfront.

Being copied on emails not relevant to them was voted as the biggest stumbling block to effective communication at work, while the study found workers are using an average of six different platforms to manage work.

Ninety-four per cent said they used email the most at work, followed by spreadsheets (82 per cent) and shared documents (76 per cent).

The findings show that technology is blurring the lines as to how people use personal devices, such as smartphones, and work desktops.

Up to 56 per cent said they use a work computer for between 21-40 hours a week, while the majority also juggle using a personal device for up to 20 hours a week.

Despite the advantages of technology in being able to work remotely, 40 per cent of respondents said they do not work from home in a typical working week.

The same number said they only work between 1-10 hours a week from home – with people working an average of 7.4 hours away from the office.

The UK’s low productivity has been called into question as it lags behind Germany and France, two countries with fewer working hours.

The average EU worker put in 41.4 hours a week in 2016 but the average Briton toiled for 42.8.

The more productive Germans and French worked 41.3 and 40.5 hours respectively, according to Eurostat.

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