How to Deal with Email Burnout in Accountancy

  • Wayne Pope, Founder and CTO at Glasscubes

  • 26.05.2023 03:15 pm
  • #accounting

Office workers spend a huge amount of time checking their inbox. They are constantly reading and responding to emails throughout the working day. Even when they get on the bus or train to go home they are looking at the messages on their phone.

Because they are ‘always on’, it results in an unhealthy work-life balance. Email burnout may sound like a made up term, but the problem is, in fact, very real.

According to DMR, the average office worker receives 121 emails and sends about 40 every day. Given the nature of their jobs, bankers and finance professionals bear the brunt of this, dealing with vast amounts of enquiries every day.

The day starts by checking their emails when they wake up in the morning and are on their journey to work. Then it continues while they are in the office doing their core role and during their breaks and lunch time. And it carries on during the commute home and into the evening, interrupting their precious dinner and leisure time. Some people even keep their email on during the night, so can never fully switch off. It also spills over into weekends and holidays, as well as sick and bereavement leave.

As a result, because they can’t turn off, eventually they become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails and they suffer burnout. The very sound of an email notification is enough to set some people off.

Business and customer demands

As workers have become increasingly more reliant on email as an effective communication tool, so they have been sending and receiving more of them. Added to that is the growing pressure of modern business and customer demands, meaning that professionals can soon become mired in long email chains often related to simple enquiries that have escalated. Consequently, their productivity and mental health suffers.

As bankers traditionally work longer hours than most professions, with little margin for error, their stress levels are typically higher, according to a Unite survey. Thus, the quality and accuracy of their work is compromised, which also puts a greater strain on their co-workers and, therefore, has a knock-on effect of low morale and engagement, as well as on company results.

According to Mail Manager, the biggest barrier to productivity is email. It found that one in four people spent at least one hour a day going through their inbox – that’s almost one day a week just managing emails. The problem has been compounded by the use of multiple devices, as employees can easily switch between their desktops and laptops and phones, meaning that they can access their email almost wherever and whenever they want.

There’s no denying that email is a convenient form of communication. But it’s also very inefficient. Often times it’s more effective just to pick up the phone to resolve a query rather than continually sending emails back and forth.

Tackling the problem

To get to the root of the problem, companies must first understand how and why dealing with email damages productivity. That’s because it distracts people from doing the main task they are supposed to do.

There are several solutions. One is to restrict the amount of times workers spend checking their email. That saves time and ensures that the time they do spend addressing them is done productively because it’s limited.

Another way of tackling the issue is to block off time to complete essential jobs and turn off notifications and access to emails when they are doing them. Therefore, the employee is fully engaged in what they are doing and will, thus, do it more effectively.

Workload acceleration tools

Workload acceleration tools can help too. They can streamline the workflow by automating it to ensure that they are receiving only the information and material they need, eliminating any unnecessary distractions.

These secure online workspaces focus communication on the required data, files and tasks that need to be completed. That ensures clients follow a clear set of instructions for the timely submission of documents.

Alerts can also be set to notify the worker when submissions are complete, while real-time reporting enables progress to be monitored more effectively, removing the need to constantly check emails. All of this allows workers to make better use of their time and concentrate on the important stuff instead.

The less time spent scrolling through emails, the better the outcome is for everyone. The company gets a more productive employee, whose well-being is protected and is fully focused on the task they are doing.

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