warning signA recent research study by The Grossman Group has revealed that the trend of limiting or banning internal email to employees is considered misguided by executives participating in the 2012 Work-related Email Perception Study. While it is true that middle managers spend an average of 100 hours per year reading irrelevant email, they would much prefer policies to reduce the volume of such email, as opposed to the perceived draconian measure of eliminating email outright.

Key findings of the study showed that:

• 84 percent of executives, 83 percent of middle managers, and 77 percent of employees polled in the survey state that email is a necessary communications tool and allows them to be more effective in their jobs.

• Just 8 percent of executives, 15 percent of middle managers, and 11 percent of employees felt that limiting email during normal operating hours would be very effective as saving time and boosting performance.

• Only 11 percent of executives, 20 percent of middle managers, and 13 percent of employees said limiting email outside of normal operating hours would be very effective.

• A meager 3 percent of executives, 12 percent of middle managers, and 7 percent of employees said eliminating email outside normal operating hours would be very effective.

“We’ve seen companies around the world experimenting with email black-outs or time-outs,” said David Grossman, communication expert, author, founder and CEO, The Grossman Group. “However, our research reveals that’s not the most effective approach. We know employees are overloaded by their inboxes and it’s causing them stress, yet our research shows its email misbehaviors that need to be addressed.”

While email interruption is desired by only a small minority of employees, they do want policies that pare down the volume of irrelevant internal emails received. Over 60 percent of executives and 55 percent of middle managers said that such policies would be very effective at increasing productivity.

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in Business Communication]