What did people do before email was invented? They talked!
In some offices colleagues now communicate entirely by email even if they sit next to each other. Presumably they’re too busy checking their inboxes to speak? This usually leads to an unhappy working environment. One Scottish study found that some people check their email thirty or forty times an hour, and some companies ban email at certain times to force colleagues to talk to each other or enable them to work without being distracted by the dreaded inbox.
Of course, no one wants to be interrupted every few minutes by colleagues asking questions. And if you need to have a record of what is being said, email is useful. But there are good reasons to avoid it.
It is hard to detect tone of voice in an email: you may think yours sounds lighthearted, but that may not come across to the recipient. If you ask someone a question face to face or by phone, you are much more likely to be answered straight away: your request won’t sit unacknowledged in their inbox.
Talking also avoids long email conversation strings that leave others out at crucial stages, or which risk everyone using the ‘reply all’ button and adding to the inbox influx.
Conference calls are more efficient for complex decisions in which several people are involved. And getting up from your desk and walking to a colleague’s work station or office is a great way to take a little break, stretch your legs and get to know each other better.
The right to disconnect
French employees now have the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours. The new law, which has been dubbed the “right to disconnect”, came into force on 1 January 2017. Companies with more than 50 workers are obliged to draw up a charter of good conduct, setting out the hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails. Read the full BBC article here.