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62% of Workers Report Email Mishaps

Email crushing workforce, leading to costly mistakes

London, UK: Research conducted by Varonis, the leading provider of comprehensive data governance software, has found that workers in the digital office place are learning to cope with increasing email traffic. While they continue to evolve and experiment with more effective email management practices, organisations will be grappling with email errors and accidents. According to the Varonis survey, 62% of respondents reported a mishap — often with serious consequences — as a result of sending an email to the wrong person or with improper or unauthorised content. The study[i], questioning employees about their digital habits and vices, also reveals that one in 20 companies faced compliance issues as a result of a wrongly sent email.

With 78% of respondents receiving up to 100 emails per day, and nearly a quarter receiving between 100 to 500 daily emails, the results underline the mounting pressure digital communication places on employees. One in ten workers now has more than 10,000 mails in their inbox. Nearly 85% of those surveyed spend 30 minutes or more every day organizing their mail — over one and one half weeks of work every year.

The study reveals three different styles of email management: 34% of those questioned are ‘filers’ (emptying their inbox on a daily basis and filing messages into folders), 17% are hoarders (who never delete but tag and keep in just a few folders), and 44% combine of both practices. However, a small but telling niche of 6% admit to completely giving up on maintaining control over their email.

As information workers try to keep pace with the daily email barrage, the danger of unintentional misuse and risk rises. A concerning 62% of respondents report their company suffered an email mishap. With incidents that include simple embarrassment (64%), compliance issues (7%), and job or promotion loss (19%), it is clear that the consequences of employees being overloaded can be severe.

David Gibson, VP of Strategy at Varonis said: “Every data disaster now seems to involve an email. We are witnessing a worrying trend of ‘email bankruptcy’ that sees increasing numbers of people struggling and in some cases even giving up on - or deleting - their entire inboxes. It’s clear that organisations shouldn’t take it for granted that employees know intuitively how to manage their massive inboxes, nor should they underestimate the consequences of email mismanagement. Organisations may want to consider better use of automation, like search, automatic rules, and auditing, as well as training for employees that need help.