A survey carried out by Fox's Biscuits shows that six in ten of us have sent highly embarrassing or incriminating emails to the wrong person by mistake. For someone who sends 50 emails a day, that represents 12,500 opportunities to make fools out of ourselves per year!
The research was carried out on the back of Fox's current advertising campaign which features people who have lost touch with reality due to their dependence on technology and need to learn how to get face to face again.
According to the survey, most of us are in regular email dialogue with people that sit well within speaking distance (less than 10 feet away) and that on average up to half of the emails received everyday are either unnecessary or could just as easily be dealt with verbally. Given the increasingly habitual use of email it is not surprising that so many of us have already made at least one email faux pas.
From the hundreds of responses received many involved either accidentally replying to rather than forwarding an email, after adding scathing comments, or accidentally sending 'inappropriate' material to someone in authority. Some of the stories that really stood out include:
· The Managing Director of a software company who sent the whole company's salary details to "all staff" then set off the fire alarm in order to cover his tracks. It took him three hours to manually delete the email from everyone's machine while the staff enjoyed an afternoon in the pub
· The CEO of a publishing company letting all the invitees attending a technology conference know that they were dull as dishwater, propeller headed techie nerds
· The PR consultant who wrote a rather intimate email to her boyfriend only to send it to a friend with the same name on the other side of the world
· The Party Organiser who's partner realised she was having an affair after accidentally copying him in on an email
Neil Hepplewhite, Marketing Manager, Fox's Biscuits said, "We thought we were being quite ironic when we commissioned the research for our 'Face to Face' campaign. We were amazed how close we were to the truth."
"We are increasingly using email out of habit rather than necessity. In order to break this cycle Fox's Biscuits are encouraging people to get face to face and potentially save themselves a lot of embarrassment. We are currently looking at various methods to encourage people to talk to each other such as a introducing 'swear boxes' for people who send unnecessary emails or rewarding employees who manage to reduce the number of emails they send. We'd encourage other companies to follow suit."
Despite the sheer volume of emails received by our sample over sixty percent of the people questioned said they would prefer to talk to their work colleagues about day-to-day work related matters than use email. But what some people might consider to be a benefit of using email is that it is not always 100% reliable. Of the responses we received 70% admitted they had used the excuse 'I never got your email' to avoid doing something they didn't want to!
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For further information or an interview with Neil Hepplewhite please contact:
Paul Smith at Cow on +44 (0)20 7360 6064
The Fox's Face to Face email survey was compiled from a sample of 500 office workers
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