You've got mail... a whole lot of mail
June 21, 1999
by Dominique Deckmyn
(IDG) -- A survey published last week found that U.S. workers are receiving 6 percent more messages this year compared to 1998, with most of the growth coming from e-mail.
The average American worker receives 113 messages per day and sends 87.8, according to a study commissioned by fax and document company Pitney Bowes Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Most of that growth comes from e-mail, through pager calls and sticky notes. The study didn't count messages sent with instant messaging services such as America Online Inc.'s AOL Instant Messenger.
Workers received an average of 20.7 e-mails per day, up almost 20 percent over last year's 17.4, the study found.
That creates system challenges for users like Tom Smith, a project manager at Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies in Boise, Idaho, a division of Lockheed Martin Corp. "We're mainly concerned about it from a storage point of view," Smith said. The company has set users a 30M-byte limit on e-mail storage, but users are receiving more and bigger e-mails and running out of space.
Is this message overload also encroaching on people's work time? Meredith Fischer, vice president of corporate marketing at Pitney Bowes and co-author of the report, thinks not. "Messaging, or communication, has become most of the work, rather than just an adjunct to it," said Fischer. "People are receiving more messages because they have to."
And, as Paul Hoffman, director of the e-mail vendor-sponsored Internet Mail Consortium, points out, the shift from other message types (such as letters) to e-mail may actually be saving people time. "E-mail is faster to toss and scan than any sort of paper mail," Hoffman said.
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