Thursday, August 21, 2014

CFA Survey - How to deal with excessive e-mails

Here are the results of a recent survey conducted by the readers of the CFA NewsBrief which deals with a growing problem in modern business --- too many e-mails. These steal time and attention away from professionals who need to focus on their tasks (i.e. research and analysis). Before sending an email, think about whether it is necessary and if this is the best form of communication... you might realize that you are contributing to excessive e-mailing and could be negatively impacting your organization. Interesting results that also apply to college students when dealing with professors and fellow students!

CFA Reader Survey
Many professionals are challenged by excessive e-mails. Which method is most effective for you in managing your e-mails?
I use tight filters and rules to screen out unwanted e-mails  30%
I avoid checking e-mail too frequently during the day  30%
Other  16%
I write as few e-mails as possible myself  12%
I ignore e-mails on which I am copied, but not addressed  7%
I substitute e-mails with more video/audio and in-person communication  5%

Poll analysis
Excessive e-mailing is a corporate epidemic. E-mails may seem deceptively inexpensive and useful, but they devour the most precious resources of modern businesses: staff time and concentration. What measures are effective against excessive e-mailing? When we asked readers of the CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief, we found that there is no dominant method, but tight filters and rules and avoiding checking our own e-mail too often each secured about 30% of votes by 588 respondents. Our first line of defense is often filters and rules, saving us from e-mails that are obviously unwanted. But the challenge of excessive e-mailing has much to do with those sent by colleagues and external contacts. Filters and rules are less effective with such e-mails because it is often only after reading them that we can determine whether they were indeed unnecessary. What may work better is controlling our own behavior by avoiding checking our e-mail too often and writing as few e-mails as possible. There are perhaps many other methods being used by our readers, as indicated by 16% of votes going to other options. For now, it seems that excessive e-mailing is a corporate epidemic that can be managed to varying degrees but, alas, cannot be overcome.