MFG 2.0

Less Email = A More Productive, More Honest Workplace

I've written about the anti-email crusade before (most recently in a blog post (How To Work Less And Produce More) referencing a Harvard Business Review Article that cites research showing "it takes about 25 minutes for a
worker to resume a project after an email interruption. . .this type of interruption is more costly than is credited, spelling bad bottom-line news for companies and individuals. . .the information-undertow that so many of us feel compelled to engage day in, day out, can adversely affect not only personal well-being but also decision making, innovation, and productivity."

The topic came up again recently in a Wall Street Journal blog post by Sue Shellenbarger. She references a forward-thinking CEO who objects to an over-reliance on email because:

". . . people use it to avoid talking with others, or to hide negative or critical messages or information from coworkers, sometimes by hitting the "bcc" button. His goal in setting the ban is to get employees "authentically addressing issues amongst each other," he told employees. "Confront issues head-on, don't hide behind emails." So far, the edict is working; people are grabbing their phones or walking to each other's desks to talk, Mr. Dalgaard says. Employees can still contact each other online through in-house social networks, where groups post short messages that can immediately be seen by everyone."

Shellenbarger also cites an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology which "found that people are more willing to lie when communicating via email than with pen and paper, and feel more justified doing so. This was true regardless of whether the writers were told their falsehood would be discovered by others."

The upshot is, less reliance on email means higher productivity, more effective (and possibly even more honest) communications at an individual level, and overall an improved organizational culture. Plus, you get to escape the tyranny of the inbox. What's not to like?

TAGS: Innovation
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