Here at Clear Concept, we have been working under our “Freemail Friday” policy for two months now. We are committing to no internal emails on Fridays. (External emails do not apply.)
Our goal has been to reduce email volume on Friday, free up time for focused work and
allow us to wrap up our week. In other words, we’ve been trying to do more thinking, more talking and less typing.
A lot of you have been asking us how it is going. We wanted to take this opportunity to share our feedback – both good and bad.
We have noticed many benefits, including:
- Less email on Fridays. Yes, we still get external emails, but eliminating the internal emails has really lightened our load. This makes the task of clearing our inboxes by the end of the week less onerous. We wrap up our week and head into our weekends with a better sense of calm / less dread having unfinished tasks hanging over our heads.
- Less email overall. Simply by putting a ban on Friday emails has resulted in me pausing before sending emails at other times. All too often, sending emails results in lower-value make-work projects. Just because we can send an email doesn’t mean that we should send an email. We need to stop and question whether the message aligns to the things we should be focused on.
- Better planning. When we know that we can’t rely on Friday to send internal emails, we are more likely to plan ahead and get it done beforehand. This frees up valuable thinking time on Friday.
- Better communication. Let’s face it, email is not always the best form of communication. It is great for information transfer but terribly inefficient for conversations, where nuances and background information are required. We like that we are picking up the phone more often on Fridays.
- Better boundaries. In our “always connected” world, the lines between work and personal lives are blurry. We like that this new policy is helping to clarify those lines. Our work week has a clear end and a clear beginning.
To be fair, there are some drawbacks of this new system. There have been a few instances when it just would have been so much easier to send someone an email on a Friday. As well, this has admittedly led to slightly more emails on Mondays. I’ve been using delivery delays that allow me to clear out emails on Fridays, but make sure that they don’t land in my colleagues inboxes until Monday. You might question whether we are just readjusting the same workload, but we all find that it is easier to chip away at emails when we are fresh on Monday.
In reality, we have not been able to completely eradicate internal Friday emails. Once in a while we forget. Other times, we need to copy team members on external emails. And other times, urgent things come up that require us to send an internal email. However, for the most part, we’ve succeeded at eliminating internal emails on Fridays.
On the balance of things, we are unanimously in favour of maintaining our “Freemail Friday” policy. As invaluable as email is, it is refreshing to have a small weekly reprieve.
What about your organization? Is there anything that you can to alleviate your email overload? Please share.