Berger Leadership Blog

Sep 04, 2015

Limiting workplace email

Phone email

I came across a New York Times opinion piece by Clive Thompson written over last year’s Labor Day weekend that remains fitting as we launch into this year’s holiday. The crux of the article: limiting workplace email.

Thompson cited Gloria Mark, an expert on workplace behavior, who said white collar workers check their email messages an average of 74 times a day. This time spent writing and checking emails is time spent away from important tasks and projects – and possibly a much-needed vacation.

Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership, also quoted in the article, said there may be a reason why some employees are constantly writing and sending emails: lack of confidence. “When employees shoot out a fusillade of miniature questions via email, or ‘cc’ every team member about each niggling little decision, it’s because they don’t feel confident to make a decision on their own,” she said.

However, a more empowered employee, she said, feels the freedom to make their own judgment calls and use the phone or have a face-to-face chat rather than type out a new email thread.

We should be encouraging our team members to pick up the phone or pay each other a visit before reaching for the keyboard. We could all use less emails in our inboxes, especially leading up to a holiday weekend. Truthfully, something I must constantly work on. Have a great weekend!