Is poor email management to blame for disputes?

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Poor email management is a contributory factor in disputes, new research from Mail Manager suggests.

The research surveyed more than 500 directors and managers across the wider construction sector, nearly two-thirds of whom are based in the UK.

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) reported that project information relating to scope changes resides in staff emails, while more than a third (35%) reported that emails from staff who are leaving are not filed, meaning project information in those emails is lost.

These statistics are alarming given that more than a third of disputes are caused either by disagreements over scope (20%) or the need to reproduce information (17%).

Furthermore, the research found that less than half of respondents (44%) require employees to file all project-related emails into a central location, with 15% indicating that no emails are filed across the business.

Again, these findings are worrying given that half of respondents (51%) said they regularly need to find information from historic projects.

Information neither available nor visible

Most respondents (87%) are at least “slightly concerned” about their project information not being readily available and visible. Indeed more than half (57%) are either “concerned” or “very concerned” about not being able to discover project information.

Stuart Rowe, vice-president of collaboration strategy at Mail Manager, said: “This insight shows that the industry has a long way to go in adapting its information processes. With employees working in hybrid environments, email remains a vital collaboration tool that businesses still struggle to get the best out of. This means important project information gets locked in email inboxes, employees spend hours looking for data and documents, or information goes missing completely.

“The increasing importance of hybrid working and the need to quickly discover historical email data means organisations need to invest in tools that simplify the process and help employees to be as productive as possible.”

Rowe added: “Our research has found that the majority of project correspondence remains in email inboxes, which means it is difficult for people to locate and retrieve project information when they need it. This is a huge concern as most project scope changes reside in email inboxes. Failing to properly manage all information and records also prevents a golden thread, or a single source of truth, across projects and businesses.”

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