E-Mail A Blessing Or A Burden?

e-mail overload

From recent research based on secondary analysis of data obtained from telephone interviews from a sample of 1003 email users the answer is not conclusive.

e-mail supports work performance, but at the same time contributes to negative effects that in the long run may affect motivation and satisfaction

In this research in which they also looked at the effect of e-mail on work performance, work related e-mails received and sent are positively related to work performance, indicating that e-mail communication in organizations carries important information that is critical for the completion of jobs. Personal e-mails neither contributes nor hampers work performance.

Nevertheless, to much e-mail has undesirable effects on work efficiency, stress and distress. E-mail can lead to information overload, it can have a stressful effect on people because those e-mails have to be understood, organized, stored, and managed. This can increase the psychological burden on people and cause stress and distress.

In this research frequent e-mail checking doesn’t interrupt the work routine. Workers check e-mail frequently and these interruptions are positive because they increase the collection of important information for getting the job done. The theory that frequent e-mail checking interrupted working and is detrimental to work performance could not be supported in this study.

Managers more often have information overload, information management and overload are typical critical issues for management.

What do you think? E-mail a blessing or a burden?

Mano, R., & Mesch, G. (2009). E-mail characteristics, work performance and distress Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2009.08.005