– Joe Robinson, a business coach and trainer, is the author of “Work to Live” and the audio CD “The Email Overload Survival Kit”. This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com –
The research is overwhelming. Constant e-mail interruptions make you less productive, less creative and – if you’re e-mailing when you’re doing something else – just plain dumb.
Within the heart of your company, saboteurs lurk. Disguised as instruments of productivity, they are subverting your staff’s most precious resource: attention. Incessant e-mail alerts, instant messages, buzzing BlackBerrys and cell phones are decimating workplace concentration. The average information worker – basically anyone at a desk – loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions, according to Basex, an IT research and consulting firm.
That time is money. Computer chip giant Intel, for one, has estimated that e-mail overload can cost large companies as much as $1 billion a year in lost employee productivity. The intrusions are constant: each day a typical office employee checks e-mail 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to RescueTime, a firm that develops time-management software. Such interruptions don’t just sidetrack workers from their jobs, they also undermine their attention spans, increase stress and annoyance and decrease job satisfaction and creativity.
The interruption epidemic is reaching a crisis point at some companies and shows no sign of slowing. E-mail volume is growing at a rate of 66 percent a year, according to the E-Policy Institute. More people are texting. More are using Facebook or Twitter for work.