One of our current clients is a sizable, nationwide orgnization. For sundry reasons, I’ve got an email address for their domain, as in email@example.com. So, I receive a bunch of emails sent to the whole company, everybody in the head office and other large groups.
I easily receive five emails a week that begin with some variation of “sorry for the mass email”, and describe anything from a lost phone charger to available spots on the company’s softball team. They’re trivialities, and certainly not relevant to 95% of the recipients.
If the head office recipient list has 250 people on it, and each person spends, conservatively, 10 seconds processing this email, then that’s 40 minutes of wasted time per email. If there’s just five a week, that adds up to 175 hours of wasted time a year.
I’m no productivity fiend, though. I think the bigger scourge is the systematic irritation that we all suffer when we receive these emails. Plus, each time one of these is sent, it grants tacit permission to everybody else in the organization that it’s okay to send such emails.
Why, in 2010, do organizations still have this decade-old problem? The issue, I suspect, is a lack of confidence in the common alternative: the company intranet. That’s not surprising, because everybody loathes their intranet. Also, in most organizations, only a few senior people and administrators tend to have permission to publish intranet articles into the ‘global feed’, enabling news to appear on each user’s intranet home page.
So, if you’ve lost your phone charger, then you’re far likelier to locate it using a global email message instead of the intranet?
If the mass email is a nuclear warhead, and the intranet is an ineffectual BB gun, what other options are there? The kitchen bulletin board? Maybe the simplest option is to not to try to distribute trivial messages?