Jordan Weissmann at the Atlantic catches a new report on office work:
There’s a good chance you spend more than a quarter of each week reading and answering those emails.
That factlet comes courtesy of the McKinsey Global Institute, which broke down how so-called “interaction workers” spend their days. They describe these as people whose jobs require “complex interactions with other people, independent judgment, and access to information.” I’m interpreting it as consultant speak for “office stiff.”
The upshot: we spend 13 hours a week, or 28 percent of our office time, on email. Assuming two weeks vacation, that multiplies out to 650 hours a year.
Put another way, four months of every working year– 16 forty hour weeks– are devoted just to email.
Of course, without reading the report, it’s not clear if this 650 hour number is good or bad. Office workers spend more time on email than they did 50 years ago, but are there things that they’re not doing that they should be instead?
Obviously some of that time is spent doing inbox management, main new folders, trawling through old messages for some suddenly-essential fact, but some portion of that time is spent… working. Telling people important things. Making plans.
Fortunately though, McKinsey has a solution: it “suggests that by moving to social media-based information platforms — think some of the more recent versions of Microsoft Sharepoint — would make workers 25 percent more productive.” Because nothing solves a technology-generated problem like more technology.