Email duration, batching and self-interruption: Patterns of email use on productivity and stress

Gloria Mark, Shamsi T. Iqbal, Mary Czerwinski, Paul Johns, Akane Sano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

127 Scopus citations

Abstract

While email provides numerous benefits in the workplace, it is unclear how patterns of email use might affect key workplace indicators of productivity and stress. We investigate how three email use patterns: duration, interruption habit, and batching, relate to perceived workplace productivity and stress. We tracked email usage with computer logging, biosensors and daily surveys for 40 information workers in their in situ workplace environments for 12 workdays. We found that the longer daily time spent on email, the lower was perceived productivity and the higher the measured stress. People who primarily check email through self-interruptions report higher productivity with longer email duration compared to those who rely on notifications. Batching email is associated with higher rated productivity with longer email duration, but despite widespread claims, we found no evidence that batching email leads to lower stress. We discuss the implications of our results for improving organizational email practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1717-1728
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
DOIs
StatePublished - May 7 2016
Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: May 7 2016May 12 2016

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period5/7/165/12/16

Keywords

  • Email
  • In situ study
  • Interruptions
  • Productivity
  • Sensors
  • Stress
  • Workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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