How Many Of Your Emails Go To The Trash? You Make The Call

According to a survey by IDC, employees receive 576 billion emails each year. Each day this can translate to nearly 50 work-related emails and nine strategic corporation communication emails. Forty percent, or 44 billion, of the total annual emails that employees receive are viewed as not important. This leads to 34 billion emails going straight to the trash folder without being read by the recipient.

Not surprisingly, this constant stream of emails may cause employees to ignore, miss, or not understand important information from their employer. Surveys have discovered that important emails about changes to business processes or strategy may not result in desired outcomes regarding employee action and effort. Additionally, emails about health and wellness initiatives, internal events, or employee recognition do not generate enough employee participation.

This can result in a lack of action by employees due to ineffective communication. Employers expect email recipients to take action based on information in one third of emails sent; however, employees interpret many of these messages as informational emails only. Workers also incorrectly interpreted emails as part of a larger series even though only 40 percent were and the others were isolated communications.

Experts say employers must make changes to their communication style if they want their messages to be received and employees to take action.

Effective communication methods can increase the relevance of messages and allow employees to understand the purpose of the email. Experts recommend senders clearly communicate the need for action based on the email's content and whether the message is isolated or part of a broader subject. Doing so will help employees understand what is expected of them and reduce the amount of unnecessary emails that ultimately wind up in the trash folder. Katie Kuehner-Herbert "Improving employee communication: 34 billion work emails go right to the trash" (May 08, 2020).

So, the question for our readers is: How many of your emails go to the trash?

Please take the poll. Here are some opinions of the McCalmon editorial staff:


Jack McCalmon, Esq.

Most of my emails end up in the trash and almost everyone of those are repeat emails from some unknown spammer. Spam is a real problem; unfortunately, spam filters also weed out legitimate communication, so like everyone else, I spend a lot of time trashing unwanted emails.


Leslie Zieren, Esq.

Every morning, my first task is wading through emails. Most of them end up in the trash. The process is like carefully picking through a bowl of homemade popcorn, looking for those few perfectly toasted, but not-quite-fully-popped kernels – the legitimate emails.


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