Has the introduction of technology advanced or slowed business development?
Today's workplace looks almost unrecognizable compared to only a decade ago. From the introduction of social media for business to the overwhelming email inboxes, technology has transformed how we live and business development. But is it all for the good?
Although technology allows us to do the unimaginable, such as doing business from anywhere in the world, it also consumes much of our time and even more importantly, affects how we interact with one another. Have we reached a point that enough is enough?
Recently on Forbes there was an article titled, "I Banned All Internal E-Mails at My Company for a Week," by Shane Hughes. In this article Hughes discusses how he banned his employees from using internal emails for an entire week. When he first introduced the idea, it was received with less than enthusiastic predictions. Some employees even forecasted that business would completely stand still for the week.
His reasoning for halting internal emails had to do with several factors, including the amount of wasted time on unnecessary emails, inappropriate issues being addressed through emails, and a harsher tone with the written word. He presented his case with the strong conviction of emails not being a form of communication. He felt strongly that they allow employees to pass along information to others with the ability to then forget about the problem or issue–enabling it to become someone else's problem.
After pleading his case and reasons for making this week long ban happen, the employees gave in and gave it a shot.
Here's what they found:
- Increase in productive energy
- Flow of creativity
- Enhanced communication skills
- Decrease in stress
Through the experiment, they discovered that email can be productive in the right situations. Using internal email that is not confusing or controversial, and is simple to understand allows a message to be relayed easily and quickly. The group discovered that emails are great to delegate tasks, send attachments, and summarize information. Hughes recommends viewing email as a type of courier service rather than a form of management.
Technology, whether it is internal emails or social media, when used in the right situation can be a valuable asset, However, discovering when to use and to cease use is key for productivity. Finding that delicate balance is critical for you and for your team.
What would happen if you banned internal emails for a week? Want to give it a try?
I encourage you to try stopping internal emails for a week and watch what happens to your team, productivity and communication. Share your results below.
Shayne Hughes is the Chief Executive of Learning as Leadership.