How Much Do They Need It?
Wireless e-mail encompasses a wide range of usage models, but in all cases, its value depends on the urgency of the conveyed information. For some workers, it doesn't matter whether they answer an e-mail message immediately, in several hours or even the next day. For others, timeliness can make or break a crucial deal.
In our poll, reader response was neutral as to whether wireless e-mail makes sense for a significant percentage of company employees, affirming our view that only a subset of workers truly needs the capability. Nevertheless, accommodating that subset can translate to considerable productivity gains.
If used unwisely, however, wireless e-mail may instill interrupt-driven work patterns that make it hard to get tasks done. It's as if the workers' phones are constantly ringing, but even worse, because many e-mail messages are just CCs of messages sent to somebody else. Spam only exacerbates the distraction.