The Overlooked Cost of Email Overdependence
Written by Iain Campbell McKenna, Senior Global VP, LavenirAI
Everyone is caught in the whirlwind of rapid technological advancement, but Procurement professionals, like many others, find themselves reliant on the seemingly inexhaustible tool – email. Despite new-age communication platforms cropping up left right and centre, the good old electronic mail stands stubbornly on our digital desktops. McKinsey provides hard numbers to this observation, revealing that we spend an average of 2.6 hours daily, managing around 120 emails. A staggering figure, isn’t it?
But why does email hold such a stronghold in our work life? A survey conducted by the New York Post sheds some light. The results indicate that for 55% of respondents, it’s a cost issue. For 53%, it’s simply a hangover from past practices, with ‘we’ve always done it this way’ as the favoured explanation. An additional concern is that a third of the respondents felt there was a lack of awareness about viable alternatives.
Looking back, there was a time when business interactions primarily revolved around face-to-face encounters or phone conversations. However, with automation bombarding our phone lines, many began evading phone calls. In today’s context, young professionals have moved towards less direct, more efficient mediums like email, text, or Slack. These platforms sidestep the potential discomfort of direct, personal interaction and provide a swifter way to communicate.
Yet, is it time to challenge this behavioural shift? Research from Florida International University College cautions us about the disadvantages of relying solely on tech-based communication, particularly for complex tasks such as problem-solving. It suggests that this type of communication can significantly impact subsequent work performance and engagement levels.
So, what if we decided to break free from the reins of email dependency? Consider for a moment the incredible potential of retro adoption. Picking up the phone again or scheduling a face-to-face meeting could add a different dimension to our interactions. It’s a known fact that text-based communication filters out the rich nuances of visual, vocal, and non-verbal cues crucial for effective problem-solving.
Aren’t we likely missing the chance to cultivate robust, meaningful relationships with our stakeholders and colleagues? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to allocate our time to productive activities instead of incessantly pecking at our keyboards?