UK staff face up to 3,000 emails after Xmas break

Research released today warns that UK computer-based workers must discipline their email management techniques to deal with the post-Christmas avalanche.

According to workplace communications consultancy Expert Messaging, the average inbox will have around 450 or up to 3,000 email messages waiting to be dealt with when staff return to work next week after the festive break.

After monitoring 3,650 training session participants from 150 UK public and private sector organisations over an 18-month period, the research also found 70 per cent of these messages were likely to be unwanted or spam emails.

But Bob Hallewell, Expert Messaging's founder, warned against taking any arbitrary action to deal with an accumulation of messages.

"Many people will be tempted to adopt the delete all' strategy when they return to the office, but it's a high-risk approach. There is no doubt it brings a cathartic pleasure, but then remember you are back to work and you may be deleting some important or critical information," he said.

Hallewell added that the post-Christmas email deluge typified the age-old battle we all face with email communications. "It sits at the centre of the modern workplace and we spend several hours per day managing it," he continued.

"But paradoxically, none or very few of us have ever been given any formal training on how to use email effectively. This is highlighted at times such as Christmas when we return to a full inbox, we spend too long pondering and not being decisive about how to deal with the messages we have."

He has developed the four D' personal email strategy in response, for "Deal with it now, delegate it, delete it or defer it until later".

But the strategy is accompanied by three guiding principles, which should ensure a one touch' approach to deal with a bulging email inbox and include:-

1. Sort your inbox by sender identify your most important contacts and apply the four D' strategy;

2. Sort by subject this will quickly help identify spam;

3. Sort by date work through from the newest to the oldest. Often actions/discussions are resolved by later emails, meaning earlier ones can be deleted.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.