Un-Lean Email


As process excellence professionals we are constantly looking at ways to improve the flow and consistency of process, to simplify and streamline things. Yet the days of most people, including improvement professionals, remains cluttered and blocked by un-lean communication practices especially email.

According to McKinsey Global Institute, the typical worker spends 28% of their work-week dealing with email (plus the time spent after hours checking email). In addition, most people have accumulated several email accounts, some active, some long dormant, some forgotten.


The McKinsey Global Institute and International Data Corp. study found that email is the second-most time-consuming activity for workers, next to “role-specific tasks.”

The McKinsey Global Institute finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers – high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals – by 20 to 25 percent.

Other findings cited in the report includes:

  • Knowledge workers spent 28 percent of the week writing emails, searching for information and collaboration.
  • By integrating social technologies businesses can boost productivity for highly skilled workers, including management, by as much as 25 percent.
  • 2/3 of potential productivity gains from social technologies can be found in collaboration and communication.
  • On average knowledge workers spend 28 percent of the week handling email.
  • 20 percent of the time is spent searching for information and tracking down coworkers.
  • Social technologies convert internal communication to content – searchable data. That has the potential of reducing time spent searching for information by 25 percent.
  • 90 percent of business using social technologies report business gains.