I was just doing something (important-ish) and decided to take a coffee break. Just a short jaunt to the kitchen and I'll be back.
Of Course the coffee was empty, so I needed to refill the pot.
After removing the pot from the "dock" (I'm not up on my coffee maker terminology), I realized that there was a little bit of residue on the hot plate.
So I decided that the bath and kitchen CLR in the yellow bottle would be what I probably needed. Not under the sink, must be in the mud room on the cleaning supply shelf.
30 minutes later, the hot plate, coffee pot, and countertop were all clean.
This is what happens on a daily basis in offices around the country. Maybe not cleaning the coffee maker, but leaving one project to "multi-task" on another project (like a phone call or email) and then having to come back and push the reset button to get back on task one. Awareness of this is essential to understand where employees spend their time.
About 25% of the week is spent on reading and responding to emails. This accounts for about 13 hours a week, or 650 hours a year. It takes over a minute to "recover from an email. Meaning, once you open and read something, that miniature reset is about 1 minute. This is extremely detrimental to productivity.
Staggeringly enough, less than half of all emails are relevant, important, or require immediate attention. In fact about 62% of emails are not important.
So how do you take care of this in your office? Here are a few short simple tips.
Limit access to group email and Reply All usage.
Not everyone needs every email. Period. Stop It!
Don’t give clients access to the internal group email address
Clients know they just got the entire office and the general manager involved in a complaint that didn’t actually need that type of attention. It's not only a distraction for you, it's now a distraction for the General Manager and every manager underneath her. (A Telecom client did this regularly in a company I was associated with, people were let go because of simple concerns that got an unnecessary attention)
Utilize software that allows users to subscribe or unsubscribe from projects
Wrike, asana, SharePoint, workday or other similar programs feature the ability to either get alerts or not. This is awesome because you can email the project and not everyone in the office gets an alert, but that email is online and visible to those not subscribed to get caught up if needed. This prevents someone having to physically collect all the emails between Zach and Susan for Project 214 and email the boss so she can look through them. It's already there.
Use folders to separate emails from those who are important and those who are “not as important” or “Unknown”
i.e. Multi-Million Dollar Client POC vs. Industry Newsletter
Check your email only every-so often
Several times a day, or a few. The US postal Service Mail Delivery service delivers to your place once a day... maybe theres something to that. Several sources say that this works.
Cory Myres is a Process Consultant and Leadership Advisor from Lubbock, TX