How much time do you actually spend in email? Do you really know? How many emails do you send and receive on a daily basis? Email has become such an integral part of our everyday work experience that the answers may surprise you.

mailboxHow much time do you actually spend in email? Do you really know? How many emails do you send and receive on a daily basis? Email has become such an integral part of our everyday work experience that the answers may surprise you.

According to the Radicatti Group, most people spend anywhere from 2.6 hours to 4 hours a day in email. At a minimum that’s 637 hours a year–the equivalent of emailing pretty much non-stop, around the clock, for the entire month of February! You spend 20 minutes of every workweek just DELETING emails.

How many emails do you send and receive a day? The average business email user receives about 85 emails a day and sends around 36. That’s 121 emails a day. Now imagine if you walked out to the mailbox at your home every day to find 85 pieces of mail. Every day. Now imagine yourself responding to 36 of them. Every day. As overwhelming as that might sound, it also means there are nearly 50 emails a day you are not responding to. Sure, not all emails require a response, but how many emails get left completely unread in our inboxes. More importantly, how many emails have we deliberately left unread, marked as unread, or worse yet, mailed to ourselves in an attempt to use our inbox as a task manager to remind us to deal with them later?

As was addressed in an earlier blog, email is not dead. Far from it actually, but it’s definitely being misused and abused.  When the inventor of email sent the first email to himself in 1971, he typed in the message, hit send and voilà, email was born. Today, over 40 years later, email is still really efficient and effective for sending that same kind of a message. The problem is, when we’re not forcing email to do what Contatta CEO and Co-founder Pat Sullivan calls “unnatural acts,” we’re adopting other apps to fill in the gaps.

Now factor in that 63 percent of all email is internal, employee-to-employee. Is email really the most effective way to communicate and collaborate with coworkers?

Less Email, Fewer Meetings and More Collaboration

The problem isn’t email. The problem is we’re asking email to be a collaboration tool it was never designed to be. We need email, and with nearly a billion business email users worldwide, it’s not going anywhere. But today we work in very collaborative environments and need collaborative tools. Try as we may, traditional email simply isn’t that tool.

To fill in the gaping chasm that exists between traditional email and real collaboration is a sea of single-point solutions. According to Gartner, 70 percent of organizations are employing social collaboration solutions. Sadly, according to an InformationWeek social networking survey, only 18 percent of their respondents said internal social networks were “a great success”.

So why Collaborative Email? Because the paradigm shift needed isn’t shifting away from email to something else. It’s evolving email to the way we actually work today.

Take the next week and see how much time you actually spend in email, how many emails you send and receive and how many other apps you’re employing to do what email can’t (and was never meant to). Then imagine what your work life would be like if you had less email, fewer meetings and more collaboration. We’d love to hear what you find out.