To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The cost of email interruption

Thomas Jackson (Computer Science Department, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK )
Ray Dawson (Computer Science Department, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK )
Darren Wilson (The Danwood Group, Harrisson Place, Lincoln, UK)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 1 June 2001

Downloads
1122

Abstract

The use of email by employees at the Danwood Group was studied and it was found that the interrupt effect from emails is more than generally believed. Employees allowed themselves to be interrupted almost as frequently as telephone calls and the common reaction to the arrival of an email is to react almost as quickly as they would respond to telephone calls. This means the interrupt effect is comparable with that of a telephone call. The recovery time from an email interruption was found to be significantly less than the published recovery time for telephone calls. It is to be concluded, therefore, that while Email is still less disruptive than the telephone, the way the majority of users handle their incoming email has been shown to give far more interruption than expected. By analysing the data captured the authors have been able to create recommendations for a set of guidelines for email usage within the workplace that will increase employee efficiency by reducing the prominence of interruptions, restricting the use of email‐to‐all messages, setting‐up the email application to display three lines of the email and to check for email less frequently. It is recommended that training should be given to staff on how to use email more effectively to increase employee productivity.

Keywords

Citation

Jackson, T., Dawson, R. and Wilson, D. (2001), "The cost of email interruption", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 81-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/13287260180000760

Publisher

:

MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited