Geldof: Emails are a waste of time

Social campaigner and pop star warns that electronic mail can damage productivity and cause misunderstandings

Charity campaigner Bob Geldof has condemned emails as unproductive and potentially damaging to business.

The man behind Live Aid and Live 8 told a conference in London on Tuesday that he thought emails prevented any real progress being made at work and could actually damage commercial deals, according to a report on the BBC Web site.

The social activist and businessman said the amount of work that gets done is proportionate to the amount of emails that are ignored. "Emails get in the way of serious consideration of what you want to do," Geldof said.

At the conference, Geldof revealed he dreads seeing lots of emails in his inbox, as they impose an agenda on him and disrupt his own plans for the day.

Disruption to the working day is not the only problem, Geldof stated. He added that a badly-worded email can actually be damaging to potential business deals.

Gary Andersen-Jones, vice-president of mobile conferencing vendor Mobix, said an over-reliance on email could become a problem for many businesses.

"Bob Geldof is spot on," said Andersen-Jones in a statement. "There is an over-reliance on email and too many people hide behind it. Email is a great application when used intelligently but email management, particularly with mobile email, can be counter-productive," he said.

Geldof is not alone in his condemnation of electronic mail. Entrepreneur John Caudwell banned his staff from using email in 2003, claiming it was eating into productivity.