Ping­ing the myths on email

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

THEY are among the big­gest dis­trac­tions of of­fice life, ping­ing into your in­box ev­ery few min­utes.

But putting off dealing with your emails may add to your stress, a re­view of more than 40 aca­demic stud­ies found.

It iden­ti­fies key steps to keep peo­ple from drown­ing in email. The first is to deal with and clear email when you check it. The sec­ond is to switch off email alerts that pop up on the screen. In­stead, check your in­box about ev­ery 45 min­utes.

Of­fice work­ers are ad­vised to use the “de­lay send” func­tion out of hours, so they can send mes­sages ef­fi­ciently with­out im­pos­ing on oth­ers.

Emma Rus­sell, of Kingston Busi­ness School, said: “Peo­ple use email to help them get their jobs done.

“Most peo­ple say they couldn’t imag­ine be­ing able to do their work ef­fec­tively with­out it, and very few send non-work-crit­i­cal email dur­ing their work­ing day.”

The re­view tack­les three myths. One is that emails are a time-wast­ing dis­trac­tion from real work. An­other is we should check email just a few times a day — this makes peo­ple feel less in con­trol.

The third myth is that emails stop us get­ting on well with oth­ers due to “back-cov­er­ing” such as copy­ing to col­leagues.

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