We all know how ubiquitous email communication has become in our personal and professional lives. Our inboxes fill up with dozens or even hundreds of messages a day; when we don’t get a chance to read or respond we may feel a vague sense of incompleteness, as if our to-do list is never fully checked off. IN addition, while email is instantaneous it can lack context and lead to miscommunication at best and hurt feelings at worst.
AEA is no different. Even our voicemail system prompts callers to contact us via email. Recently, our leadership team began questioning if there is a better way to communicate, whether we can try to take an occasional break from email to engage in other forms of communication. We did some research, and found that companies around the world have been instituting a variety of changes when it comes to employee email usage–from monthly or weekly email breaks to outright bans. Organizations that have embraced this approach are often exploring other electronic means of communication–social media, internal messaging systems, etc. We would like to take things a step further.
In the spirit of limiting distraction, focusing on the global importance of November 8 (you may have heard something about presidential elections happening that day!) and actually communicating in person or on the phone with colleagues (as we used to do), all AEA employees are being asked to refrain from using email for the entire workday of November 8. We want to see our team making time for personal conversations, sending written notes, making phone calls…anything but hunched over the computer or other electronic device sending email. Let’s all clear our heads, get reconnected, and go to the polls. We can get back to that inbox November 9–I promise it will still be there, and the world will not have ended in the meantime.