At the beginning of the week, I posted about a move afoot at some companies to declare “email-free Fridays” in an effort to give workers a break from their overloaded inboxes. This morning, at the end of a work week and hundreds of email messages, meeting “invitations,” spam and one “mailbox full” notice (which necessitated a quick purge of large attachments this morning), my view hasn’t changed. An email free day — or some other approach toward taming the email behemoth — is a good idea.
But not everyone agrees. Judi Sohn of Web Worker Daily suggests that email is getting a bad rap. And it seems many workers agree. As proof, Sohn links to a Wall Street Journal report about U.S. Cellular’s attempt to impose no-email Fridays. (U.S. Cellular is also mentioned in the USA Today story I cited earlier in the week.) Email is the bane of many an office worker’s 8-to-5 existence. “But withdraw it even for a day,’ writes Sue Shellenbarger in the WSJ story, “and some employees fight back like recovering smokers in a nicotine fit.”
“Yes,” writes Sohn, “weâ€™re sending and dealing with more email than ever, but weâ€™re also getting a lot more done on our own timetable. I say: Cut email some slack. … Personally, I find those who interrupt my concentration with an unnecessary phone call (or face-to-face drop-in) to be far more annoying and stress-inducing than those who send 30 messages a day.”
Sohn makes a good point, and maybe on one of those days when I can get away from my inbox long enough to think clearly, I’ll be in more of a mood to agree with her. But today is not that day.