Email may be intended as a quick, efficient way to exchange information in the workplace, but tackling your inbox can often be stressful and time-consuming. That’s why LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm based in Chicago, decided to issue a company-wide ban on email use for an entire workday in 2014, according to a recent article in Fast Company.
The mission proved so successful that LaSalle decided to repeat the event once per quarter.
Tom Gimbel, the founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, reflected on the decision in the Fast Company piece. Inspired by the communication breakdown that can occur over email and messaging platforms in the office, Gimbel writes that they shut down office email to encourage “live communication, face-to-face dialogue, and collaboration.”
While eliminating email might seem like a drastic measure, it’s important to note that Gimbel and his employees lay down some rules prior to each email-free day. He wrote in Fast Company that after determining that email would be off limits between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the team decided to implement two 20-minute breaks to check email during the day in case of emergencies.
In addition to these quick breaks, all employees also put up away messages that notify clients and other contacts that the email ban is going on, but provides them with a phone number.
Gimbel wrote in Fast Company that he and his employees learned a number of valuable lessons from the experience. First, the team was seemingly more productive and creative—heading to each other’s desks to get feedback proved more efficient than email “conversations.”
Additionally, they found that relationships among team members improved with face-to-face contact because, as Gimbel wrote, “You’re able to have better dialogue because you can see someone’s reaction and hear the inflection in their voice. Relationships are built from real conversations, not endless chains of back-and-forth emails.”
Read Gimbel’s complete piece in Fast Company.