Decreasing Employee Productivity with Email Free Fridays

The answer is for companies to hire people with compatible values and trust them to make the right decisions about how to use e-mail. Individuals should have the option when to send a message, use the phone or talk to someone in person.

October 20, 2007

Charles Bermant – E-mail-free Fridays a pilot program within Intel has worked to encourage the members of an organic group to focus each Friday on direct conversation, walking across the aisle or picking up the phone to deliver a short message. Other companies have also tried the idea, which gets some initial resistance but is eventually accepted when employees see the benefit of increased “face time.”

So here’s what will happen: Companies will encourage e-mail-free periods for employees to converse. They will walk over to a neighboring cubicle to ask “when will the presentation be ready?” and the conversation will evolve into “how about those Seahawks?” Pretty soon productivity will decrease, and a year later the policy gets revised — again. Link.