The Snitch

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Archive for November 2010

Don’t let work emails drive you mad

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A study by researchers at Stanford and Boston University found that the way an individual approaches email can affect their stress level and performance on the job. According to them, what really matters is how much time employees spend responding to work emails.

“People who got stressed out had to spend a lot of time reading it and writing,” Stine Grodal, a professor at Boston University’s School of Management and co-author of the study, told CNN. Grodal said employees can reduce their workplace anxiety caused by email overload and improve their productivity if they tweak their work habits.

“This is all real work. It’s OK to spend an hour a day on e-mail — it’s just something that you have to do. But you can reduce some of the time that you spend,” Grodal said.

The typical corporate user sends and receives roughly 110 e-mail messages a day, and nearly one-fifth of those messages are unwanted, according to research firm The Radicati Group.

Grodal suggested that email filtering technology can help cut down the amount of time spent on clearing inboxes. But many people are not comfortable using this tool for work because they are afraid of missing out on an urgent email.

According to Will Schwalbe, co-author with David Shipley of “Send: The Essential Guide to E-mail for Office and Home”, professionals need to fight the pressure of replying to emails too quickly if they want to stop emails from ruling their lives.

“When we answer e-mail too quickly, we set up accelerated expectations and doom ourselves to a lifetime of instant responding,” Schwalbe told CNN.

Schwalbe added that people need to ask themselves honestly. “Is it you who is being compulsive or does your job actually require it?”

Schwalbe suggested using an out-of-office notifier that directs people to reach employees by phone after regular work hours to keep messages from building up.

Grodal agreed. Respondents in her study who adopted this strategy found that co-workers had a strong sense that out-of-hours phone calls were intrusive while email was not. This became an effective filter because calls are considered “weightier impositions”.

“Even if you give out your cell phone number, people will feel like, ‘Ugh, should I really call her?’ They’ll only do it if it’s really urgent or they’ll wait. But you’re still instilling a sense that you’re available,” Grodal told CNN.

But research has shown that the real workplace time wasters are teleconferences and meetings, even though emails do take up a huge chunk of time. Grodal said the “emotional” attachment to emails could be a reason why we are overwhelmed and most distracted by them at work.

But tweaking work habits can help relieve stress or free up time to pursue other tasks, she said.

Find out how the barrage of work emails are affecting employees’ stress level here.

Written by Human Resources

November 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

HR at the top table

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When Angelika Dammann joined SAP in July this year, it was seen as a top move among HR professionals. Not only did she take responsibility for the full range of the global human resources functions, she took a seat on the software company’s executive board.

Dammann, chief human resources officer at SAP AG, was appointed to the SAP executive board on 1 July this year. Also the first female executive board member in the company’s history, she serves as the company’s labour-relations director.

According to Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEOs of SAP, her appointment will address the company’s critical need to significantly improve its employee engagement worldwide.

Lee Xieli talks to Dammann about the secret to her success as an HR professional who has earned a seat in the boardroom.

Written by Human Resources

November 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm