Tilman Baumgaertel on Tue, 24 Jun 1997 13:24:15 +0200 (MET DST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Info-Overkill

``Check your e-mail, voice mail, fax, (Lotus) notes database
and then it's time to go home.'

So it's not only a problem on Nettime...


01:21 PM ET 06/23/97

Communications overkill hits corporate efficiency

            By Robert Woodward
            LONDON (Reuter) - Communications overkill, product of the
1990s world of e-mail, voicemail, fax and the Internet, is
beginning to impair companies' efficiency and drive workers
crazy, according to a report released Monday.
            The survey, conducted in the United States and released in
London, showed half of those questioned said they were
interrupted by messages six or more times an hour.
            Far from replacing existing communications, new
techonological tools merely overlay them, creating a corporate
world where many executives and managers feel crushed by their
communications traffic.
            The survey commissioned by U.S. office products company
Pitney Bowes showed 71 percent of those questioned felt
overwhelmed by the number of messages they received. This glut
negatively affects employee morale, the quality of work and home
life, and company productivity.
            ``This phenomenon is beginning to have a seismic affect on
people's professional and private lives,'' said Meredith
Fischer, vice president, communications, markting and future
strategy at Pitney Bowes. ``Technology is not the problem, it's
how we use and control it.''
            The survey showed that managers on average receive and send
178 messages a day. The telephone is mostly to blame but 40
percent of the message are in paper form, giving the lie to the
idea that new technologies would create a paperless environment.
            A common response by managers was that on arriving at work
you ``check your e-mail, voice mail, fax, (Lotus) notes database
and then it's time to go home.'' Some said they received up to
100 e-mail messages overnight.
            Such is the blizzard that many managers have to answer
voice-mails and e-mails from home. The ceaseless interruptions
at work mean quality thinking time also has to be left until the
evenings or weekends.
            Further inefficiencies arise when communications systems are
not compatible, meaning messages do not arrive. Chase-up
messages and telephone calls to ensure a message has been
received increases the inefficiency. More and more workers now
send the same message by two or three different media to make
sure it gets through.
            Many companies also do not bother to find out how their
workers, and suppliers and customers, prefer to receive
messages, the survey showed. Sixty-nine percent of large
companies do not have a communications policy.
            ``Using a number of ways to communicate is not bad in
itself, but it can add to the glut of materials to be managed
and can be wasteful,'' Fischer said. ``Employees are frustrated
and hampered because they don't have the information to make
educated choices.''
            Workers, however, are fighting back. Some use their favorite
form of communication whether or not this fits into the
corporate culture. They turn off pagers and mobile phones, or
let them run down, so they can get some peace when they are out
of the office.
            Others open e-mails without reading them or just ignore
those which are sent for their information only rather than
directed at them.
            ``Ultimately, we're getting to the point where people lie
down in the road and say, 'No more,''' Fischer told a news
            This growing confusion and inefficiency is leading to the
emergence of ``mission control'' workers in companies, Fischer
told a press conference.
            This person, often at the personal assistant/secretary
level, knows and bridges the deficiencies in a company's
communications web. He or she informs individuals when messages
fail to hit their target and how best to reach another worker in
the company.
            The survey was conducted by Gallup and San Jose State
University among 972 executives, managers and administrative
staff at Fortune 1000 companies.
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@icf.de and "info nettime" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@icf.de