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Leave e-mails alone on Friday, says Nestle


E-mail is often blamed as a scourge of modern office life, apparently being responsible for the demise of the art of conversation, hours of wasted employee time forwarding attachments and jokes of questionable content, and causing consternation among those faced with long or seemingly pointless e-mails whose message could have been better delivered by telephone.

The Sunday Times reports that a backlash against e-mail is taking place in the form of a 'dress down Friday' - type experiment being carried out by Nestle Rowntree, who have decided to ban the sending of e-mails once a week. The theory is that if people have to get up and go and talk to someone, or use the 'phone instead, they'll be forced to concentrate on communicating the important rather than the banal. The Times quotes Nestle's marketing manager as saying "an e-mail ban begins to build a culture of designing and delivering ideas together."

However, the case against e-mails is not clear-cut. An Open University professor is apparently due to publish research supporting the idea that e-mail can be better for brainstorming, as it takes away social pressures to conform in group situations. There's also no denying that it's a quick and efficient way of contacting lots of people with the same message (although care has to be taken in ensuring all of the people on the list need to receive that message). TrainingZONE reckons that the message needs to be 'think before you send', rather than trying to avoid sending altogether. If you know the person you're sending to well and you understand the way they work, you should know whether e-mail is the best or the worst way to contact them. If you don't, and you need a quick answer to a quick question, the 'phone has got to be worth a first try!

E-mail or no mail - what do you think? Post your comment below:


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