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Email Free Fridays

By LeaderTalk Contributor — April 16, 2010 1 min read

This past week, I talked with a senior executive who was talking about a dual challenge: reducing the tyranny of email and ensuring that people actually TALK with each other.
She mentioned a challenge she issued: No Email Fridays.

Each Friday, nobody was allowed to send an email to a person in the same building. They had to physically get up and walk to that person or call them on the phone to discuss an issue, share information, or any type of interaction. She was concerned that people were hiding behind their computer screen, typing out emails when people were next door or down the hall.

This senior executive (I’ll call her Jan), was intrigued by what she was trying to do and what effect it would have on productivity as well as getting people to know each other a bit better. Here’s what she found:
1-people had an extremely difficult time breaking the habit.
2-people started talking with people that they hadn’t talked to in over 5 months
3-some people didn’t know where other people’s office or room was.
4-conversations and topics were resolved more effectively (1 conversation vs. 4 email strings)
5-there was little if any loss in productivity-those that complained about it were some of the worst offenders of “Lazy emails"-just forwarding on emails or not having an email discipline of outlining the action needed for the email in the first paragraph.

I’m curious about applying Jan’s idea to your school or district. To what effect might having an Email Free Friday help your school or central office?

Look forward to the conversation,
Chris

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