New Generation workers and Email


I had to shake my head when I read this Accenture survey on the demands of the Millennial Generation. The usual ‘demands’ of wanting to choose their technology, insisting on state-of-the-art technology, not wanting to seek corporate approval, requiring new communication channels, etc all came up.

It seemed odd that a survey like this would appear after all the economic changes of late.

Turns out that although the results were published in November, they were based on a survey conducted back in June this year. How times change*. I’m guessing if Accenture conducted another survey, the ‘demands’ of Millennials would be more like the rest of the workforce at the moment: ‘please give me a job, I’ll do anything to prove myself’.

Anyway, that isn’t the main reason for this post. The item that interested me was the survey’s results regarding email. Introduced as ‘coming to the end of email as we know it’, the survey reports that Millenials only spend between 7.7 to 9.5 hours a week on email. That’s roughly 1.5 to 2 hours per day. What this means is that the relative newcomers to the enterprise are spending approximately a quarter of their day on email.

Where am I going with this? Simply this: I’ve long held that most email is an inefficient use of time. Whilst some activities are well managed via email, many (perhaps most) corporate functions aren’t. In fact, in my new role at nsquared, email is one of the things I’m actively looking to reduce, and replace with far more effective means of communication. But – as this survey highlights – that’ll be a tough job, given that in most businesses even new employees are trained from day 1 to surrender a significant chunk of their day’s energy to email. 

How can we overcome the email mindset?

(via Jane McConnell)

* Although even in June I’d contend the writing was on the wall.


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