A poll found that more than a quarter of most employees’ time is wasted sending, receiving or sorting out emails instead of doing their jobs.
That means that every year workers spend some 81 working days hunched over their computers – often emailing other people in the office.
The poll was carried out by the Respected McKinsey Global Institute and was based on a typical working week of 46 hours.
Assuming an employee spends 13 hours a week on emails, that works out as 28 per cent of the time they are at work.
According to McKinsey, making changes to how people use computers such as using more social media could make them up to 25 per cent more productive.
The findings are the latest in a series of polls which call into question whether or not the computer revolution really is a good thing.
A recent survey found that the typical working day lasts from 7.17am to 7.02pm because employees are checking their work emails on their phones outside of office hours.
In a separate poll, half of bosses have admitted that their most productive time is in the car on the way to work as they are not so distracted.
Relationships expert Jean Hannah Edelstein said that email has its place but that it should be used carefully as it ‘cuts us off from people’.
She said: ‘It can cut off essential aspects of communication that can only be via face-to-face contact, like tone of voice, facial expressions and body language.
‘Having the conversations in the first instance in person is the best way to get to the heart of any matter.
‘If you’re emailing people who sit next to you, it may be time to think again.’
Miss Edelstein added that some people also use email to avoid a difficult conversation or a confrontation.
She said: ‘Turning to email can even escalate a conflict, such as if you write a long email rant about something that may be more easily clarified and sorted through a face-to-face conversation.’
– Daniel Bates