Monday, December 12, 2005

Pointless emails

As anyone who has met me or worked with me will know, I hate emails with a passion. My work depends on them, but I don't have to like them. What I really don't like, apart from the spam is the sheer pointlessness of most emails.

Some emails are simply electronic versions of good old fashioned memo's. So for example the HR department will send out revisions to a benefits scheme. This is a good thing, and I approve, near instantaneos delivery of a complex document to everyone who needs it. But most emails say things like (I quote)

"Alan are you in the office?"

Reply "Yes"

"Are you at your desk?"

Of course I want to say - where the f do you think I would be if I am answering your stupid electronic message?.....But this isn't the end of the message exchange, oh no.

"Yes" (agreed I should not have replied at all)

"Are you busy?"


"Yes I am answering a flood of silly messages from you"

What is the point of this? Would it not be easier to pick up the phone and call me at my desk. This would provide the following information.

Whether I am at my desk or not
Whether I am busy or not
Whether I want to talk to you or not

It will also, if we get an affirmative for all the above, immediately initiate a conversation.

Oh by the way I forgot to say - this person was also in the office, simply sitting around a corner without a clear view of my desk. So in this case even a phone call would be a little superfluous, just getting off one's butt and walking ten paces would I think be the most effecive way to handle this situation. This would provide you with an instantaneous answer to the questions, am I there and am I busy, and even if I don't really want to talk to you, being the generally polite person I am, you have a much better chance of getting me to talk to you whether I like it or not.

So getting off your butt occasionaly and actually talking to your colleagues would in my humble opinion often result in a dramatically improved business process.

I am told regularly by colleagues that I am a luddite - I am not a luddite, but I do think they may have had a point.

No comments: