E-mail: Gossiping and Wasting Time at Work


Waaaay back in 2007 (remember those halcyon days, pre-recession?) a survey by the company MessageGate, Inc. found that employees considered e-mail systems the most important “corporate workflow tool.” Still, it also was a tool that helped employees “exercise poor judgment in its use,” and increased costs as well as business and legal risks.

We can only imagine how Facebook and Twitter now have added to that time waste!

The 2007 survey found that as little as 20 percent of internal e-mail was work-related, with the remaining 80 percent consisting of carbon copies (one of our “favorites”), joke forwards (no, that’s our top fave), alerts and spam.

A few more findings:

  • No surprise: E-mail often was treated much like instant messaging, with employees using it for lengthy personal conversations.
  • Employees often made accidental proprietary disclosures, such as pending acquisitions or layoffs.
  • Most internal e-mail messages are sent to at least two people, meaning duplicate e-mails are taking up your e-mail system’s storage space.

Your takeaway? Times change quickly. Many companies have stiffened their e-mail policies and have strengthened their firewalls, increased capacity and otherwise helped e-mail become a better corporate tool. Companies also are making sure employees understand that every single e-mail message can be seen by the company. Employees, of course, have adapted and, we believe, those companies that stepped up their e-mail policing actually have seen a decrease in e-mail as an all-day opportunity to gossip, etc. with employees becoming more sophisticated in its proper use.

But…now there’s Facebook! Have you looked at your social media site policies? Have you made them crystal clear to your workers? Do you even allows employees to look at Facebook, or have you created a company Facebook page as a news and communications hub?

Speaking of employees, if you’re in need of terrific professionals for your Washington Metro-area construction, engineering or architecture company, contact RealStreet Staffing. We have access to some of Washington’s top talent.  We look forward to hearing from you.

RealStreet has been an excellent partner in understanding our programs’ unique staffing requirements-skills, experience, clearances, seasonality—and consistently provides qualified and highly productive team members who are often recognized by our customers for their performance.

Cheryll Bissell

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