But that's not always the case, particularly within larger organisations. A
recent survey found that 34% of internal business mail is useless. They have
dubbed this 'occupational spam' and apparently it's a big problem. In other
words, a high proportion of the stuff that clogs your inbox at work is generated
from within the company itself. Of course, much of this is done with the best of
intentions and it's common courtesy to respond to an email with some kind of
acknowledgement, which of course makes matters worse.
The same study also revealed that employees
spend an average of 49 minutes per day managing email!
Many workers are moving toward instant messaging
(IM) to communicate with colleagues. In the beginning IM began as a simple tool
for teenagers to chat with each other by swapping brief messages, but IM has
come a long way since then, rapidly becoming a customer service tool as well as
having obvious advantages for employees. Rather than clogging up their inbox and
outbox with small messages, they can whiz their 'one liners' directly to a
recipient's desktop. If the person is there, they usually respond quickly so
there's no waiting for replies. From a company's perspective, IM allows for
quick and efficient collaboration without placing a strain on the mail server.
In a recent study of IM in the work place by
Media Metrix they reported that there are currently 5.4 million people accessing
AOL Instant Messenger from work, MSN Messenger is close behind with 2.7 million
users, Yahoo Messenger has 1.9 million work users and ICQ, with 1.2 million.
The figures for home users of IM are even higher
and as I work from a home office, I fall in to both categories. Using both MSN
Messenger and ICQ to communicate with local people, friends around the world and
one of our site correspondents, who currently lives in Delhi.
Whether its for work or home, it's a great way
to communicate and most systems have add ins for SMS text messaging and Internet
Phone facilities, both of which can considerably reduce phone bills.