Poor employee email and messaging habits are costing companies a fortune each year.

On average, the typical employee loses approximately 2.1 hours
productivity every day due to interactions and disruptions.

According to research studies, constant email alerts interrupt workflow and decrease levels of productivity and creativity. And, the same can be said for instant messages and cell phones, which divide workers’ attentions between the endless notifications and more important tasks.

It goes without saying that time is a precious and irrecoverable commodity. Therefore, when employees misuse time, companies pay big time. Intel estimates that lost productivity as a result of email overload can cost large companies up to $1 billion over the course of one year. Just how much time are employees wasting to cost companies such a staggering amount? Well, according to RescueTime, a time management software development firm, a typical office employee checks email 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times each day.

As a consequence, workers are frequently sidetracked from completing important tasks. This mismanagement of time increases their annoyance and stress levels while decreasing their attention span and overall job satisfaction. And, with email volume growing steadily at a rate of 66% each year, some companies are already facing a crisis point.

Furthermore, an increasing number of employees are texting and using Facebook and Twitter for work, making it exceptionally difficult to stay focused. To curb these tendencies and regain control, organizations can utilize some basic interruption management strategies:

  • Discourage multi-tasking. While multi-tasking is considered to be a valued skill and a necessary part of many workplaces, Science disagrees that people can perform two or more thinking tasks simultaneously. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that productivity reduced as much as 40 percent when people tried to do two or more things at the same time.
  • Implement a quiet time. Employees are less productive when dealing with excessive emails and social distractions. Set aside a time, preferably in the morning, during which no messaging and phone contact is allowed and then permit communication to resume in the afternoon.
  • Mandate less email use. This can be for a specific period of the day or for an entire workday at a time. Companies like U.S. Cellular and Deloitte & Touche have experimented with programs such as “no email Friday” with very positive results. In essence, less emailing saves time and encourages more face-to-face contact, which allows employees to build camaraderie.