With more than 200 emails received per head per day, the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust service managers’ inboxes were filling fast. Reports indicated that email volumes can increase stress, lack of focus and result in poor decision making.
But an innovative course from learning pioneers Emailogic has dramatically reversed this trend. Although the course takes just 90 minutes, a survey indicates that attendees have saved on average 31.1 minutes a day and have shown a 13% improvement in their reported ability to work effectively under pressure. The course teaches people to deal with email overload and manage their email more efficiently. Guy’s and St Thomas’ subscribed to it after Staynton Brown, Associate Director of Equality and Human Rights at Guy’s and St Thomas’, spoke to senior managers in the organisation and asked what they could all do to reduce bureaucracy. Explains Stayton, “They all said that we needed to change the organisation’s behaviour around email, especially to reduce the traffic.
Now, a study into the effects of the course has revealed the truth of this sentiment. Continues Staynton, “The email productivity training has had a significant, positive impact on managers’ performance and productivity. Fewer interruptions and reduced stress also lead to better decisions and increases their ability to meet the goals of the Trust. Ultimately, better decisions and less stress will result in better care for our patients”.
The study was conducted earlier this year by independent expert Dr Bridget Juniper, as part of the Trust’s bid to support staff well-being and effectiveness, and to assess the effectiveness of Emailogic’s 90-minute course. The results have been conclusive. They show that email training is saving staff on average 31.1 minutes each day and provides a 13% improvement in people’s reported ability to work effectively under pressure compared to a 3% drop for those who had no training or who only received guidelines.
For Guy’s and St Thomas’ the time savings would equate to 74 additional staff posts and estimated savings in terms of staff time worth £2.2m each year, based on 1,000 staff completing the training. Equally importantly, the results showed clearly that those people who attended the 90 minute, face to face email training reported a statistically significant improvement in their well-being and performance. As well as monitoring the experience of those who were trained, the study included two control groups; one group comprised hospital colleagues who were sent email etiquette guidelines to read and another group who received neither training nor guidelines.
Statistical analyses revealed that those who attended the training clearly benefited from the programme compared to their colleagues in the two control groups, who showed no beneficial change. Other highlights of the study included: A 10% uplift in people’s ability to focus time and resource on work compared to a 2% drop for those who received no training or who only received guidelines. A 9% uplift in self-reported effectiveness at work compared to a 9% drop in effectiveness for those who had no training or who only received guidelines. When asked if he would recommend the training to other trusts, Staynton Brown replied emphatically: “Absolutely, the big next step for us now will be to work with Emailogic and our own IT training team, to create a package of training that our staff can get more access to throughout the year”.
Marc Powell, Director and Founder of Emailogic was confident the results of the study would back up Emailogic’s own research – conducted over the company’s 17-year history: “The results of this study vindicates our own research and shows that effective email training not only saves people time but also reduces stress and improves staff well-being. In any organisation this is going to have a positive impact on the bottom line – in an NHS Trust this means an improved service for patients”.