Common Sense, Responsibility and No E-mail Fridays

In my post on October 5, we talked about no e-mail Fridays at Intel. The Intel blog has not yet reported on their success level, but research shows other companies have tried the policy including U.S. Cellular and Deloitte & Touche. The policy in these companies has sparked rich debate with pros and cons on both sides.

The policy was adopted to ease workers overload but implementation of the policy has highlighted the sheer volume of business conducted externally and internally via e-mail. The policy allows employees to answer e-mail from customers and clients but seeks to encourage live voice communication between employees. Talking face-to-face increases synergy and is a better tool for problem resolution or product innovation than e-mail. It is a productivity plus to get employees in the same room communicating.

Common sense, however, dictates that if the communication is a routine answser, e-mail is more efficient than face-to-face or telephone. If the reply is a simple “yes” or “no”, again, e-mail is faster. Therefore, I recommend flexing the no e-mail Fridays to permit internal e-mail that falls into the “simple reply” category.

To gain the desired results from no e-mail Fridays, responsibility must be added to common sense. Employees can take individual responsibility to stop their addiction and refuse to check
e-mail 30 to 40 times every hour. For those addicted employee who send as much as 200 to 300 e-mails a day to co-workers, I would recommend a big dose of common sense: Stop the spam. Make your e-mail communications succinct and of value.

The Radicati Group, a Palo Alto, California research and consulting firm, predicts that e-mails sent by individual corporate users will increase 27% this year, to an average of 47 a day, up from 37 a day in 2006. When this increase in volume internally is combined with the increase from customers and clients, an astute observer will see that no e-mail Fridays is a good policy if combined with individual responsiblity and common sense.

For more ideas on gaining control of the avalance of organizational e-mail, call me at 770-923-0883.

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