The New Email Time-Bomb for UK Business

The annual Vodafone Critical Response Time Index, now in its second year, can reveal that a third of UK businesses continue to expect an email response to their new business enquiries within two hours, consistent with the 2007 survey. More alarmingly however is the growing number of businesses (up 11% on 2007) where patience levels are wearing even thinner expecting a reply to their enquiry by email in half an hour, These lost opportunities, business owners say, cost them on average 18,840 an inflation beating 5% rise year on year.

The Index, which examines the changing attitudes of UK business to email behaviour, also indicates that the combination of pressure from quicker turnaround and potential financial loss is causing workplace anxiety: More than a third (36%) of UK workers are aware of occasions where lack of access to email, whilst on the move, has caused unnecessary stress and conflict in the workplace, rising to 48% for those working in London.

Mark Bond, Enterprise Business Unit Director, Vodafone UK commented: "This year we have seen mobile email access, more than ever before, become an essential piece of the business armoury. This survey clearly demonstrates that the way we approach our work is changing and businesses need to move to address that change."

In response to the growing use and availability of mobile email, Vodafone has extended the Index this year to ask a number of business critical questions, revealing both, a growing demand for email access on the move, and a realisation of a number of the benefits of more widespread adoption:

Mobile Email for the Masses
42% of all workers now say they need to be able to access and respond to emails when away from the office during work hours, simply to keep the wheels of business turning, including 53% of HR staff, 40% of customer/client service professionals, 54% of finance workers (a further 30% of all workers say the same when outside of typical working hours rising to 40% of middle management and 54% of senior management).
58% of employees believe that all employees will need mobile email access in the future. 12% believe that time has already come - while more than one in five employers believe the same.

Mobile Email as Stress Solution
More than a third (36%) of the UK workforce are aware of occasions where the absence of mobile email access has caused unnecessary stress and conflict in the workplace, rising to 48% of the London workforce, 60% of Sales & Marketing professionals and two thirds of workers who spend (on average) half the week away from the office.
Three out of ten workers suffer stress when encountering a very full inbox upon returning from meetings - rising to more than a third of younger workers, while 17% feel anxious when they are 'offline'.

Time critical
35% of the workforce also feel that the absence of mobile email access or availability leads to wasted time (such as in between meetings or travelling to events). The figure doubles amongst workers, such as service engineers who spend some of their time outside of the office regularly (stipulated as at least two days a week).
The average time wasted across a typical working month equates to 4 working days per month - 31hrs a month - (or a fifth of the working month).

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