According to a new research undertaken by Yahoo that has looked at the habits of more than 2 million users and their exchange of 16 million emails over several months, we are falling victim to the ever increasing overload of emails, and are becoming slower and less responsive in our replies.The study has found that as more emails arrive in our inboxes, we tend to reply to a smaller fraction of them with responses decreasing in length. In fact most email replies were between 5-43 words and just 30 percent of emails went on for 100 words or more.
Indeed, the distribution of time that it takes for users to reply to emails is very similar to the time it takes for people to retweet a message on Twitter. That means about 90 percent of users reply to correspondences within a day, with half of those replies made within 47 minutes of receiving the email.
Another interesting trend is that email responses during the weekend tend to be much shorter than those send on weekdays. Also younger people tend to be quickest at replying to emails with teens averaging a 13 minute reply time and mature users (51+) taking around 47 minutes to respond to their emails. Interestingly, gender does not seem to play as important a role as age does when it comes to replying.
The most interesting findings of the study however point to the way email load affects user behaviour. It seems that although the users tend to increase their activity on busier email days, they tend to reply to a smaller fraction of those emails. Decreasing from about 25 percent of all emails received in a day at low load to less than 5 percent of emails at high load (about 100 emails a day).
These findings highlight the need for continuous streamlining of everyday business practices in order to maintain and improve staff efficiency. While emails dominate communication, many organisations tend to overlook the productivity benefits of easy web hosted storage and document retrieval services. With extensive security measures in place, speedy and cost effective digital technology solutions can supplement email communication and provide a significant improvement to the workflow of any organisation.
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Read the full report at: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1504.00704v1.pdf