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Office workers ‘using email inefficiently’

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Office workers are spending significant amounts of time each day emailing their colleagues – even those who are in the same building or room, it has been suggested.

Research conducted by McKinsey Global Institute suggested that the average employee spends 28 hours a week – or 1,500 a year – writing emails and collaborating internally.

And the firm claims some of this burden could be lifted by using real-time technologies such as social media, with increased business productivity a natural side-effect.

Socially-orientated businesses can also reduce communication costs, improve worker access to knowledge and to internal experts, lower travel costs, and increase employee satisfaction, the firm said.

The most successful companies should be able to reduce operational costs and, even increase revenue, McKinsey Global Institute added.

It said the use of internal tweets, likes and messages can help speed things up, and ensure employees can concentrate on getting productive work done.

But speaking to The Age, University of New South Wales senior lecturer Dr Gavin Schwarz suggested many employees do not know how to use Web 2.0 effectively.

“Just because it’s a more contemporary form of communication it doesn’t change that people still need to be ready and have the right mindset for it,” he stated.

“There’s an assumption that because people are tweeting socially, [the habit] will automatically transfer to work.”

Dr Schwarz said this is not necessarily the case.

“It comes down to this idea that people have to be made more ready for change, regardless of what it is,” he added.