See the bigger picture: E-mail debate in Great Britain

For Howard Frear, Sales and Marketing Director at Document Management software specialist EASY SOFTWARE UK, the need to take control of our in-boxes and get our working lives back has never been greater.

According to no less a set of authority than the Bank of England, and the government’s statisticians at the ONS, the UK hat a big problem – the lack of productivity.

For every hour of work performed in the UK, a US worker averages 31% more – and for the G7 as a whole, UK is an average 15% behind their main international competitors. Great Britain has a problem, if those figures are right. And some people are starting to worry that part of the problem might be the amount of time, they’re wasting managing email.

Email is both the most ubiquitous business communication method and one of the most productivity-destructive weapons of mass ‘distraction’ ever invented. Howard Frear says, that he can’t be the only one who wonders: Do I go to the office to work, or just to tend to my in-box?


An endless-work hours culture is not helpful

A distinguished UK psychologist and academic, Sir Cary Cooper, struck home for many of people, a few weeks back, he warned the British Psychological Society’s annual conference that employers have to do something about the current ‘epidemic’ of staff checking emails out of hours.

The ‘compulsion’ to deal with emails as soon as they arrive in that damnable in-box may be a real factor in the productivity gap they’re very conscious about in the UK – warned the researcher – who pointed out that, ‘For people to be working at night, weekends and holiday on emails is not good for the health of our country.’

The academic also criticised the UK macho work culture, in which staff want to be seen to be available by email at all hours – a culture he thinks is causing stress and depression, and in turn making workers less efficient.

Few would argue with him. But what can be done about the curse of the inescapable work email – and get the UK Plc back in track to be as competitive for us all?

Howard Frear believe that Employers and Employees can get back in top of wasted business time, if they see that email needs to be properly managed. They need to make email archival and retrieval as efficient and friction-free as possible, as that’s ideal helping the proper flow of all the information flowing through their processes and workflows.


Get email back in its box – and make it useful again

It’s accepted wisdom that documents need to be properly managed. Email clearly needs to be subject to the same discipline. After all, email servers were never designed to act as repositories for these vast quantities of emails and move control of this information away from the organisation.

Organizations have to deal with the reality of the situation and they can’t just wish email away. After all, without their legal preservation requirements in the event of litigation, increasing the effort and cost in responding to e-discovery and disclosure.

So, it’s important to manage email better, as well as look technology help, such as collaboration software, to get people working together. An email archiving solution that give you control of your in-box back should offer electronic discovery, auditing and retention features, for instance, plus seamless integration with the latest Microsoft technologies and interfaces.

For compliance, meanwhile, transparent archiving of journal mailboxes and the defining of individual archive folders or the scheduled processing of email messages could be a great help, if you add in search that allows retrieving information from nested attachment, concurrent searches in archived and non-archived email messages, as well as in multiple archive mailboxes side by side, that’s also recommended. That means archived email messages can be simply synchronised from the archive to the user’s device – plus you’d have permanent availability to archives (and therefore no need for PST files).

According to a 2009 study by AIIM, the global community of information management specialists, only 10% of organizations have completed an enterprise-wide email management initiative, only 20% currently are rolling out a project, and even in lager organizations, 17% have no plans to do so. Given the productivity issue and Sir Cary’s remarks, that seem negligent, to say the least. Let’s get the work done to rein email in and make it useful again – and at the same time establish a batter work-life balance again for UK Plc.

Meanwhile, there’s already a World Paper Free Day. Howard Frear is now starting to wonder if we might not soon needed a World Email Free Day, as well? Would you sign up?