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IABC Survey Finds 93 Percent of PDA Users Negatively Affected by E-Mail Overload

Three out of four users say they receive too much e-mail

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – 16 November 2006 – In a global survey of over 1,700 communication professionals, an overwhelming majority of respondents (85 percent) said that e-mail overload is having a negative impact on their productivity at least some of the time. The negative effect on productivity was even higher (93 percent) for users of BlackBerry devices and other personal digital assistants (PDAs). The survey, conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and twisurveys, also found that most PDA users feel they receive and send too much e-mail, and that they spend the most amount of time each day managing the information they receive.

Sixty-two percent of respondents to the IABC survey said they receive too much e-mail, compared to 75 percent of PDA users. In addition, almost half of the respondents (44 percent) agreed that they send too much e-mail. In comparison, 56 percent of PDA users are guilty of sending too much e-mail.

Amount of e-mail received     All Respondents     BlackBerry users
Too much                            62%                     75%
Just right                             37%                     25%
Not enough                            1%                      0%

Amount of e-mail sent     All Respondents     BlackBerry users
Too much                            44%                     56%
Just right                             53%                     41%
Not enough                            3%                      3%

Negative impact on productivity     All Respondents     BlackBerry users
Frequently                                    9%                     14%
Regularly                                    30%                     35%
Sometimes                                 46%                     44%
Rarely                                        12%                     6%
No impact                                     3%                     1%

The IABC survey also explored the sources of e-mail overload. The biggest cause of information overload was found to be external news sources and professional subscriptions (61 percent), followed by co-workers (39 percent), professional networks (34 percent), team/department sources (29 percent) and companywide corporate sources such as senior management and HR (23 percent).

When asked about the number of times they checked their e-mail daily, 81 percent of respondents said their e-mail was always open. Further, 40 percent of respondents spent 2 hours daily to respond to e-mail; 35 percent of respondents spent 3 hours or more daily to respond to e-mail. For more information and charts on these findings and comparisons with PDA users, visit the IABC News Centre at http://news.iabc.com/index.php?s=ideas&cat=25.

The survey was conducted by Tudor Williams, ABC, and Ryan Williams from twisurveys, an organizational research and strategy development company specializing in employee, association member and customer research. The online survey was sent to IABC members around the world. A total of 1,718 responses were received. More details on the survey findings appear in the current issue of Communication World magazine. The article is available online at http://www.iabc.com/cw (member log-in required), and can be made available to the media upon request.

About IABC

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, IABC serves more than 14,000 members in 70 countries, 100 chapters and 10,000 organizations.

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