Headsup: Down the E-Mail Drain

Two recent surveys attempt to quantify time wasted on handling e-mail.

How much time do employees waste handling e-mail? Two recent surveys attempt to quantify the "why" and "how much" of e-mail dillydallying.

The biggest time waster is spam, which The Radicati Group says represents 67 percent of the 135 billion messages sent worldwide every day. Culprit No. 2 is poor e-mail search. According to a Harris poll conducted for e-mail archive vendor Fortiva, 59 percent of employed U.S. e-mail users lose time looking for messages. A third offender is overload: Twenty-eight percent of Harris poll respondents say the volume of e-mail they receive makes them fall behind at work. And then there's the need/desire to communicate with friends and family. Sixty-one percent of Harris respondents say they send and receive personal e-mail messages at work.

Both survey sponsors say the solution lies in e-mail archiving. The Radicati Group predicts the e-mail archive market will double each of the next four years. An archive can help with search and perhaps with overload, but will it prevent employees from dawdling and sending personal messages? Not likely.

—Penny Crosman