At the end of the day, many people wonder where all their time went.
New data-mining tools are helping employers answer that question. The causes of overload have long been suspected—email and meetings—but new techniques that analyze employees’ email headers and online calendars are helping employers pinpoint exactly which work groups impose the most on employees’ time.
The result: some surprises for managers, says Joan Motsinger, vice president, global operations strategy, for Seagate Technology , a Cupertino, Calif., company that studied how its employee teams use time and work together. At Seagate, some work groups discovered they were devoting more than 20 hours a week to meetings, according to an analysis of 7,600 Seagate employees’ interaction and activities in 2013 by VoloMetrix in Seattle. Also, one consulting firm was generating nearly 3,700 emails and draining 8,000 work hours annually from 228 Seagate employees.