Email Free Fridays

from the walk-and-talk dept

Two years ago we had the story of the Liverpool City Council who banned all internal email on Wednesdays. Last year, it was UK company Phones4U that banned all internal email. Apparently, this sort of "trend" picks up one organization a year. The latest is Veritas Software, where the marketing department has declared Friday an email free day. The VP of marketing felt that email was getting out of control, so banning it outright (on Fridays, at least) seemed like a way to force people to figure out other ways to communicate, and to cut out some of the worst abuses of email. To make the ban stick, he even promised to fine those who abuse it $1 (and to give that money to charity). Some people can't help themselves, but others have adjusted. The fine "pool" is apparently up to $70, but it's growth rate has slowed (and that $70 includes $20 from a woman who "forgot" about the ban, and sent out 65 messages before she realized her mistake -- but instead of paying $65, the VP commuted her sentence to $20). What's unclear, though, is whether or not there's any real benefit to doing this. It's clear that email can become overwhelming at times. However it is a useful tool. Banning it outright, rather than encouraging good email practices seems a bit extreme. However, perhaps this "email free day" helps to force people to think about communications practices, and may actually lead to better email management on the other days of the week.
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  1. identicon
    min, 7 Dec 2007 @ 9:58am

    Phone's ringing and ringing? Silence! :))

    I have to say as a programmer, and I am sure there are many occupations out there similar that if I had phones ringing around me as well as my own along with people's cells and the loud intercom phone usage I would only be able to concentrate on writing code during my lunch hour! lol. It is not realistic in my opinion (and my trade) also for the simple reason that email is a written proof of many things as opposed to confusions or misunderstandings over details that a client can take advantage of (and they do in my trade :)).

    So before the higher ups ban a whole corporation please consider the need to focus in peace and quiet for certain groups, and also keep in mind the importance of a quiet environment for some and that it takes 20 minutes to attain a high level of concentration. Once that is broken, one has to start all over.

    I noticed that these things are often forced rather than encouraged and I do not agree with forcing people to communicate outside of their comfort natural zone. Can you tell I am not a phone person: *laugh*

    My two sense :))

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