Eight scary stats about your email habits

Are you at war with your inbox? My Facebook and Twitter feeds regularly contain friends commiserating over email avalanches, celebrating alarming milestones (“only 1000 unread emails to go!”) or gleefully announcing that they’ve done the digital equivalent of sweeping all their piled-up papers off the desk and into the trash.

Even with the rise of project management software, email isn’t going away any time soon—rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated—but there are new ways to make it a more efficient part of your life, particularly for those of us who rely on email in the workplace. By 2014, Gartner estimates that 20% of business users will switch to enterprise social networking as their main method of communication. To learn more, read our post on how cloud collaboration changes email habits.

Of course, the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Not convinced? Check out these eye-opening stats and studies.

People aren’t as good at multitasking as they think. It typically takes 10-15 minutes to refocus on a project following an email interruption.

SCARY STAT #2. Email distraction docks your IQ by 10 points.

SCARY STAT #3. On average, email interruptions cost workers an hour of lost time every day.

SCARY STAT #4. The average worker checks email 36 times in an hour, sending and receiving 105 emails per day.

SCARY STAT #5. 19% of that email: spam and graymail.

SCARY STAT #6. 59% of middle managers miss valuable information every day – simply because they can’t find it or never see it. 

SCARY STAT #7. Email folders and folder rules? Three times less efficient than a simple search.

SCARY STAT #8. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that failing to implement social technology makes high-skill employees and management 20-25% less productive.



1. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/horvitz/chi_2007_iqbal_horvitz.pdf

2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4471607.stm

3. Marsha Egan, http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/columnists/column-the-end-of-email/article_43a1909c-a825-50ba-88f6-a5c45f0b622c.html

4. http://blogs.atlassian.com/2012/08/time-wasting-at-work-infographic and http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Email-Statistics-Report-2011-2015-Executive-Summary.pdf

5. http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Email-Statistics-Report-2011-2015-Executive-Summary.pdf

6. http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=4484

7. http://www.boxfreeit.com.au/Productivity/tip-want-to-be-more-productive-dont-file-your-email.html

8. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/technology_and_innovation/the_social_economy


Post by Adam McKibbin

Adam McKibbin is the content marketing manager for iMeet Central. His writing has been featured in Adweek, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, and he’s produced content for some of the leading tech brands on the Fortune 500.