Why Email Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Like all habits that are bad for our health, email is something that we all struggle to give up. But is there an alternative out there that can help us reclaim our time and work more efficiently?

Think back a decade (or a couple…) ago – do you remember the thrill of receiving an email? Perhaps you were a teenager who’d just created your first account and were waiting for your friends to get in on the act. Or better yet, you had just secured your first job and were waiting for that all-important offer to be sent through. Whichever you were, you can probably admit that this was a time and place where email was fun.

But how that has changed.

For the average professional at work, email has become way more toxic than any of us would like to admit. And everyone is in on this open secret. From constant push notifications and being copied into every single communication, to – and this is the crux for procurement professionals – the key supplier communication buried so deep in our inbox that it never sees the light of day. Until it’s too late that is.

Email has become the bane of our existence, and may even be hazardous to our health, and, like many things we know are bad for us, it’s a habit that is so hard to kick. But here is what we can all do about it.

What does email take from us? 

It’s gotten to the stage now that we all feel dependent on our email and rarely go too long without checking our phones, computers or tablets for the next communication. And our lives aren’t made any easier by the constant influx of messages at all times of day and night thanks to a global working environment and extended working hours.

However, as much as we think we can’t live without it, the truth is perhaps the exact opposite. Matt Plummer, CEO and Founder of Zarvana, reveals in our latest RE: RE: RE: imagining RFx webinar, that the average professional spends 28% of their working day (yes, over a quarter of the day) reading and answering emails. 

Part of this time is the time spent checking emails. On average, we all check our emails 15 times a day, or every 37 minutes. The problem is, though, that very few people expect a response this fast, so regularly checking chews up valuable time that could have been spent more productivity. 

Productivity isn’t just lost overchecking emails, though. Once we’re distracted, it can take a long time to refocus on the task at hand. In fact, it can take up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds for us to refocus, meaning that we’re losing even more valuable time out of our day.

And that’s not to mention the stress it causes us to see a full inbox when we get into work in the morning, or when we come back from a holiday. No wonder there have been calls to ban out-of-hours emails in the UK, as well as a number of countries changing laws about the so-called ‘right to disconnect’.

And this is still just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to email. What about the hours we lose looking through our emails for important information? What about the bad decisions caused by the fact that we can’t find or have forgotten what we need? 

How does procurement fare when it comes to this? 

Procurement likes to think of itself as innovative. Or, if not innovative, then at least a little ahead of the curve when it comes to most things. But when it comes to overusing email and not exploring other solutions, sadly we aren’t quite there yet.

Jack Macfarlane, CEO and Founder of Deepsteam, believes that procurement hasn’t innovated beyond the overuse of email for a number of reasons:

“The procurement industry has lacked digital transformation for too long, due to complacency with inefficient communication processes between users, high degrees of informational asymmetry between counterparties, and inadequate governance and auditability standards within the race to achieve best-in-class ESG.” 

He also believes that this has serious consequences for procurement professionals, especially when it comes to managing suppliers: 

“Long email chains often mean vital details go missing, and locating information is both difficult and time-consuming. Procurement officers drown in a mire of emails as their teams send out multiple tenders to as many potential suppliers as possible (sometimes thousands) throughout the day.” 

But what’s the alternative? 

Just a few years ago, for the average person, there were just as many alternatives to email as there were opportunities to go to the moon. However, with the advent of Slack and other communication channels, alternatives to emails are now a reality. 

But in a situation where some of these channels would be an inappropriate medium (for example, when working with suppliers), what options are there for procurement professionals? 

Fortunately, there are a few, and one such solution is DeepStream. The platform that is purely focused on RFx (Request For Anything), DeepStream helps centralise supplier communication and management, ensuring that it all remains in one easily searchable and accessible place. 

With procurement aware that these alternatives exist, the only thing left to do is get them using them. Easy, right?! There’s probably no-one who believes that we can drop email altogether in the short-term, and that it may take a number of years to fully kick this habit. However, platforms like DeepStream offer us the hope that we can consign email to history, start to work more effectively in procurement, and maybe even get some health benefits thrown in too!

If you’re ready to stop raiding your inbox, join us for RE: RE: RE: imagining RFx! How the end of email will save procurement webinar on February 17 at 2pm.