Electronic Communication for Professionals—Challenges and Opportunities
The 21st-century professional or knowledge worker spends much of the working day engaging others through electronic communication. The modes of communication available to knowledge workers have rapidly increased due to computerized technology advances: conference and video calls, instant messaging, e-mail, social media, podcasts, audio books, webinars, and much more. Professionals who think for a living express feelings of stress about their ability to respond and fear missing critical tasks or information as they attempt to wade through all the electronic communication that floods their inboxes. Although many electronic communication tools compete for the attention of the contemporary knowledge worker, most professionals use an electronic personal information management (PIM) system, more commonly known as an e-mail application and often the ubiquitous Microsoft Outlook program. The aim of this research was to provide knowledge workers with solutions to manage the influx of electronic communication that arrives daily by studying the workers in their working environment. This dissertation represents a quest to understand the current strategies knowledge workers use to manage their e-mail, and if modification of e-mail management strategies can have an impact on productivity and stress levels for these professionals. Today’s knowledge workers rarely work entirely alone, justifying the importance of also exploring methods to improve electronic communications within teams.