Federal Computer Weekly purchased rights to a long excerpt from the book that just went live. This should generate some interesting feedback:
Are you inundated with irrelevant e-mail every day? Most of us are, with dozens or hundreds of messages that we don’t need to see and don’t have time to deal with.
In his new book “Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization,” Daniel Patrick Forrester describes the experiences of a company that declared internal e-mail off-limits for one day a week. Read the excerpt from his book and then tell us if you think this would be a good idea — or whether it’s even possible — for your organization.
(“Consider” was published by Palgrave MacMillan. Copyright 2011 by Daniel Patrick Forrester. Used by permission.)
Can you imagine even one day at the office without e-mail? The CEO of PBD, a small inventory management and shipping company, did just that. In 2006, Scott Dockter finally had enough of the barrage of e-mail that had built up inside his 30-year-old family-owned business. He stepped away from his desk one afternoon and laughed aloud because he had just e-mailed his assistant for the third time on a routine matter, yet she was sitting only 20 feet away from him.
About the same time, Dockter was shocked to discover that one of his colleagues had nearly 200 e-mails awaiting him after spending a full day interacting with clients. He thought about time and how he allocated it and what role e-mail played in taking him away from the people side of the business. When the weekly e-mail load of divisional reports clogged his inbox on Friday, as it always did, he knew he needed to do something. He told me, “Some people would hit a ‘reply all’ on a comment they might have about something within that report, and it was just generating a tremendous amount of follow-up e-mails.”
Dockter mentioned his concern to the head of human resources, and she told him jokingly about a “national no e-mail day in August” that had been proposed in a news article. PBD had a culture where Fridays were more casual; Dockter thought that such a program could “lighten the mood a little” and tackle the e-mail deluge. Such a simple policy shift could force people to stop and rethink their relationship with the technology and one another. He thought to himself that, at least for one day a week, staff could get to know each other again and talk face-to-face when possible, or connect via phone if they were in different cities.
He told me, “We were not going to fire anybody or anything drastic. We were just going to say, ‘No e-mails on Fridays. Period.’” The only exception to the rule was for external e-mail: If a client e-mailed someone inside the company on that Friday, then a PBD employee could respond. All other e-mail traffic generated from within the company was strictly forbidden.
Here is a link to the rest of the excerpt. Click HERE: