Is Email the Greener Choice?

By: Margaret Deller, Extension Specialist

If we are talking corporate email the answer is a resounding no. There are 3.1 BILLION email accounts worldwide, 25% of them are corporate email addresses. It has become the number one cost of e-work worldwide.

In 2011 Radicati reported the average corporate worker received and sent 105 emails a day:

58 legitimate incoming mails
14 incoming spam
33 new or reply emails sent

Steve Robbins , of the Harvard Business School of Working Knowledge, reported that reading and responding to an average legitimate email takes three minutes. That is roughly 3 hours a day just on email!

So how do we combat this onslaught of partially necessary information? Seth Godin , marketing expert, has a few suggestions:

1.If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?
2.Is there anything in this email I don’t want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
3.Does the subject line make it easy to understand what’s to come and likely it will get filed properly?
4.Could I do this note better with a phone call?
5.Could this email be shorter?
6.Is there anyone copied on this email that could be left off the list?
7.If I didn’t send it would the recipient complain about not getting it?
8.Did I hit ‘reply all’? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
9.Have I corresponded with this person before? Really? They’ve written back? (If no, reconsider email).
10.Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
11.Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, “yes,” is not helpful).

While there are many benefits to email including documentation of a conversation and being a greener choice than snail mail, the best way to communicate is in person. So if the person is just down the hall add to your 10,000 steps a day and go see them, in the next building give them a call. If you must email try to cut the number you send by 13 a day, you could save your company up to $4,225 a year. Sound impossible? Send just 1 less email a day and you could save your company up to $350 in a year.


The Hidden Costs of Information work

Email Statistics Report 2011 – 2015

Email Overload – The Challenge to Productivity

Email checklist (maybe this time it’ll work!)


Posted: June 21, 2011

Category: Work & Life
Tags: Sustainability

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