If you’re like many working people, your inbox is loaded with emails when you get into work, and by the end of the day… it’s still loaded with emails. Email functions as a business’s communicative foundation, serving both as a circulatory system of information and as a collaborative tool to accomplish various tasks. It’s usually free to use, and messages are sent instantly, so people often don’t realize the real costs of email—the effort it takes to write and read them.
On an individual basis, this time is negligible; even the most complex emails take only a few minutes to read, and a few minutes more to write. But when you’re sending hundreds of emails a day, all those minutes add up, costing you hours of time for both senders and recipients. If not acknowledged or addressed, the problem can quickly escalate to threaten an entire team’s productivity—but how can you monitor how many emails your employees are sending anyway?
The 3 Motivations for Email Tracking
First, let’s clarify the advantages of tracking how many emails your employees are sending and receiving:
1. Workload analysis. Emails are attached to almost every task in your organization, whether it’s an email to assign a task to someone, a progress email to function as a conversation or collaborative effort, or a question about a project in process. Accordingly, you could use email volumes to roughly gauge how many tasks each worker has on their plate.
2. Personal productivity and contributions. You can also evaluate email use as an indicator of an employee’s contributions to an organization, or personal productivity. Less productive employees will spend a long time drafting emails and reading emails and may contribute less to group email threads.
3. Task creation. Every email sent by someone in your organization to someone else in your organization creates a new task for that recipient: reading the message, even if it only takes a minute. Employees within your organization who send emails more than they need to are wasting not only their time but the time of their recipients as well.
Even individual metrics, such as the number of emails sent and received, can tell you much about an individual worker’s role within the group. Though it can’t, alone, give you an exact ROI for an employee’s efforts, or provide a minute-by-minute analysis of how effectively they work, it should give you a high-level view that you can use to make overall improvements.
How to Track Employee Email Analytics
Using an email analytics tool, you can probe deeper into your employees’ emailing habits. These types of apps often pull data from your employees’ email accounts, including precisely how many emails each employee is sending and receiving per day. You can complement your research with other metrics, like:
• Top senders and recipients, which will tell you who the leading voices are within your company.
• Time spent writing and reading email, which will likely illuminate key productivity problems stemming from your workers’ use of email.
• Conversation metrics, including how long the average email thread within your business is, who usually starts email threads, and how frequently they occur.
Right now, you have a couple options for analyzing email metrics for yourself or your team. email analytics is designed specifically for Gmail and G Suite users, while Microsoft’s MyAnalytics is designed for Outlook users.
Both options allow team managers to track, graph, and visualize their employees’ email activity, as well as their own, and both represent excellent options if you’re looking for employee monitoring software.
Determining whether there’s a problem with your employees’ current email loads is only the first step. The next step is taking corrective action to optimize those workloads. If the problem is limited to one person, you’ll need to pull that person aside and have a collaborative meeting about how they can improve their performance. If you do this, make sure to list actionable goals you want your employee to take.
If the problem lies with the current balance of workloads, you’ll need to reassign clients and tasks as you see fit, to make the organization work more cohesively as a unit. If multiple employees have problems with sending too many emails or spending too much time on email, you may need to host a company-wide meeting about email etiquette and formatting standards.
In any case, you’ll need to follow up with more analysis over time. Hopefully, your company’s email volume will steadily decrease, and you can free up a few hundred man-hours to spend on more important tasks and projects.