One of the departments where I work has announced a cunning plan to hold an email amnesty on Friday. They say that they’re not going to read or send any emails that day, because it apparently reduces the time they spend doing their work and “potentially alienates us from colleagues”.
Instead we have to either call them (some of us reckon many of them have been employing a permanent telephone amnesty for years now, so that won’t work) or ‘pop in’. We may even be made a cup of tea. That’ll help them get their work done. No, seriously, it will. It’s been working for ‘us Brits’ for centuries.
So, apart from making copious cups of tea (and no doubt the consequences of loss of productivity due to increased loo breaks), their solution is to abandon perhaps the most significant development in communication in modern times. And what exactly do they think will happen? Well, I can have a guess. On Thursday those of us who have read their announcement and taken it on board will bombard them with anything we think we might need from them before the end of the week. The other 99% of the organisation will carry on as normal and just keep sending. So on Monday they will just have twice as many emails to read and act upon. It’s a bit like what I call ‘holiday syndrome’, where you spend the week before you go away doing twice as much work finishing off everything you know you have to do before you go away, you then go away for a week, and when you come back you spend a whole week working double hard to catch up what you’ve missed. Net effect, you’ve done an extra week’s work!
They say that if this day is a success they may make it a monthly fixture. How exactly are they going to measure success, and success for who?