The degree of science applied to the mystery that surrounds email reply rates borders on embarrassing. Researchers will sift through thousands upon thousands of emails just to determine exactly how much more effective the greeting “Hi” is vs. “Hello” or “Cheers”
Not that we’re not grateful. Few things rival the stress induced by attempting to successfully suss out the tight walk that is crafting a work email that is both professional and personal or the tension induced after hitting the send button just a second before you realized that you forgot to change your email signature from “Marty Graw”.
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But maybe we should all be spending a little less time worrying about the formality of starting an email with the word “hey,” given a new workplace statistics report just revealed that there’s a 60% chance it will never get read by anybody but you.
Our pals over at Slick Text surveyed 1,000 employed American adults via Pollfish, about their feelings toward workplace communication.
As it turns out, everyone really hates emails. They stress people out and insist on a tone of urgency that makes recipients feel overwhelmed. Nearly half of the respondents involved in Slick Text’s survey said that receiving fewer emails at work would go a long way to increase their job satisfaction. Thirty percent of participants reported never checking their work emails after they punched out, which is fair, and even suggested by many health professionals, but an additional two-thirds said they ignored emails entirely, irrespective of when they received them.
The study expounds, “About a third (34%) of those surveyed said they sometimes ignore HR emails. A total of 5.7% of respondents indicated they always ignore emails from HR. That means, at any given time, there could be about 40% of the workplace who aren’t reading emails from the HR department.”
If HR has to deliver a message of exigence to an off-clock worker, 43.9% prefer a text over email, if they have to be notified at all.
For whatever reason, there’s this archaic formality attached to the traditional modes of electronic mail, that many professionals find hard to bypass. The new study underscores Slack as one of the most popular and promising solutions to this dilemma. It’s a company-wide chat platform that is inherently professional even though it feels more like texting. It’s much harder to ignore an HR email about Seat-sniffing-Dan if a Borat gif is attached. If Slack isn’t your speed, there are a bounty of digital ways to diversify communication. Many companies have even adopted Skype, mass text message systems and even G-Chat.
Alas, sometimes a physical dialogue is simply unavoidable, like in the instances wherein an email is too important to risk getting overlooked, The authors over at Slick Text add, “Providing an update and answering questions in a weekly meeting could eliminate a lot of back and forth throughout the week. Plus, if there is an email that employees need to watch for, you can give them the heads up at this meeting so they’ll know not to ignore it.”