E-mail users are always aggravated at having to delete spam, possible viruses, irrelevant forwardings, and friends’ mass mailings of insipid jokes. However, David Pogue, Circuits columnist for The New York Times, points to an overreaction: John Caudwell, chairman of the Phones 4U chain of mobile phone stores in the UK, has banned his 2,500 employees from sending any internal e-mails. Mr. Caudwell says he wants his employees to communicate by phone or face-to-face. He claims this will save each employee a daily average of three hours reading or sending e-mail and calculates this will increase his company’s productivity by approximately $1.6 million per month.
Pogue notes the sophistry in Caudwell’s dictum:
- “E-mail does sap away time, but it also saves massive amounts of time. You can conduct an e-mail transaction in a fraction of the time you’d need for a phone call — meanwhile, you get a permanent record of the exchange, one that you can search, sort, and share with people who weren’t present. Ban phone calls too, I say. Mr. Caudwell would save another three hours a day per employee. And don’t forget about computers. Good heavens, in the time we spend learning them, debugging them, backing them up, maintaining them, installing new patches and drivers, we’re losing billions of person-hours a year. Get rid of them, too! There’s another three hours a day saved.”
Come to think of it, why are you reading this and not working? (I’m just kidding!)