We are issuing a challenge to workplaces this month...to use less email and start talking to colleagues more.
Using email as a substitute for real conversation and discussion can do untold damage, but some simple guidelines can ensure your people are using it appropriately and not creating more problems than they solve...
It is “no email day in April” and we are starting 2014 with a similar mission – to get workplaces to use less email and start talking to each other again!
We do lots of work with organisations helping them to untangle “difficult” people situations; relationships that have broken down, frustrations and resentments getting in the way of effective working and people feeling the stress of poor working relationships in their personal lives.
And do you know what? All these situations have an overuse of email as part of the problem ... if not the main cause.
Take a high profile public sector body that we work with. At the end of last year we were asked to come in and help resolve a situation which had been dragging on for months. 2 senior managers had simply stopped talking to each other and it was having a hugely negative effect on the people around them. When we traced it back, it was a misinterpretation of email that was at the root of the friction... which then escalated... to the point where two highly paid and highly skilled people could hardly look at each other, let alone talk to each other.
Many of us kid ourselves that email is quicker, but in reality when we use email as a substitute for a face to face (or at least phone based) conversation, it often means that we miss opportunities, we misinterpret the message, we end up focussing on the wrong things... and we waste more time.
That doesn’t mean we should never use email... it absolutely has its place, but we need to use it for the right things; confirming agreements and actions, setting up calls and meetings... but not for important discussions, exchanging points of view, giving feedback and wherever it is just as easy to pick the phone up or see someone.
So in advance of this year’s no email day we are issuing a challenge to you all...stop using so much email.
Each time you are tempted to fire off an email, stop yourself and pick the phone up instead. Or, even better, wander round to the person’s desk/ office/ department and talk to them. And get your teams to do the same.
Go on ...try it and let us know what happens.....
I joined Stella and Tracy at Focal Point in 2003 and have seen both the Company and my role evolve during this time. I now work closely with the management team to achieve and improve business efficiently. To re-energise myself after a day in the office, I like to go to Zumba classes in the evening!