Compliance Communications Blog

Sarah Perry, CEO, SnapComms

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The Catch-22 of E-Mail

The global workplace changed forever when e-mail as a communication medium was introduced in the early 1990s. Ease of use, speed of distribution and almost zero cost led to its universal appeal.

Fast forward to modern times, the number of e-mails sent and received per day totals over 205 billion in 2015. The average worker receives approximately 122 e-mails per day --  approximately 15 e-mails every working hour. These figures are expected to rise at an average annual rate of 5% over the next four years.

Ironically, its popularity has made e-mail a victim of its own success: with so much traffic arriving in inboxes, there’s a risk that critical communications – such as compliance – are getting lost in the noise.

Increasingly, staff are suffering from "infobesity," finding it difficult to understand an issue due to information overload. It’s easy to spot the tell-tale signs: e-mails get ignored; partial responses to messages; procrastination (often with best intentions to read later); and selective reading -- i.e. focus on the what the main message is, ignore the stuff that’s not. And the problem is getting worse: the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds. Nowadays, it’s closer to 8 seconds.