The drivers of individual email pressure
Talk to anyone about email today and they will tell you how demanding it is and how stressed they are by having to deal with so much of it.
This pressure means that many find email overwhelming; by the volume, lose important items, and feel pressured to respond quickly, often within seconds. This can also lead to over-anxious behaviors when it comes to access and retrieval. Self-reported email checking suggested more than a third of workers check their email inbox every 15 minutes, but monitoring software revealed that workers check their email more regularly, some up to 40 times an hour.
However, the sources of email pressure extend beyond overload and include: email interruptions to work, unclear priorities, lost email, unclear timescales, inappropriate language, and inappropriate use of the medium.
This pressure is an obvious inhibitor of performance and can be a significant inhibitor when it comes to changing behaviors. We believe that it is important to assess the pressure within an organization and, critically, to share these findings with the workforce. Assessing the pressure culture identifies the extent of the problem and creates a common understanding of the issues. It can then be used as one measure of how the change program is succeeding.
The sample questionnaire below shows how issues can be brought to light. Sharing the data from a survey of this kind will relieve the ‘pressure' that people feel. However most importantly by surfacing the issue in this way it will provide a ‘licence to implement' for a program designed to change behaviors. It is this licence to implement that is essential; programs need to be adoptable by knowledge workers to get real and lasting effect.