Early 2016 resolution: 9 to 5 emails only

Last week we had No-Email-Friday in Belgium. It probably wasn’t that great a success as most organizations heavily rely on email for internal communications.

No Email Policy
IT services giant Atos announced five years ago that they would become a no-email company, but they still use email. Granted, they claim that by using BlueKiwi, a French enterprise social software platform, a lot less internal emails are generated but banning email internally is hard.

One of the side effects of emails is that it seems that work never stops. Even more so with the device that we all have with us continuously: the smartphone.

In order to preserve work/life balance some large companies, such as BMW, have adopted a policy to stop their email servers to deliver email to employees after (work) hours. It seems the French government even had the intention to legally force employers to “freeze” all email to and from employees not that long ago ( and I wonder what happened to that idea…).

I’m doing it because others are
One of the reasons why email is so popular is that I can send a message (or a reminder) whenever I feel the need to do so. Following that, many feel the need to check and reply asap showing to others that they are on top of things.

When I send a message to colleague at 11 PM, many feel the need to reply asap because they assume that message has some type of urgency; “hey, if it wasn’t urgent, he wouldn’t have sent it so late, right?”. In many cases the fact I’m sending this message so late, is simply because something popped up into my mind, and I wanted to strike it off my mental to do list.
Unfortunately most email clients are not really ready to deal with deferred messages.

My early 2016 resolution
So that made me think. Email is for many a problem, especially after hours, that I contribute to for others, and am subjected to by others. So why not try to change this?

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” -Tony Robbins

In 2016 I am going to subject my email behaviour to a set of ground rules: unless my email, or the reply to someone else’s is really urgent, I am going to hold back sending that message to within office hours. If it is really urgent I have other means to communicate: phone, SMS or IM.

Defer messages
Leaves the question:  how to schedule messages?

Windows Outlook 2013 users can use an existing, but hardly known, Outlook 2013 schedule sending mails feature to delay sending mails. Gmail users can use 3rd party Chrome extensions. Boomerang and RightInbox let you schedule when to send out your mails.

So what do you think about my new year resolution? Do you feel it could help solve (part of) our mutual email problems?

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