The Wall Street Journal’s litany of a “growing email backlash” might make you pause before hitting “send” next time.
Columnist Sue Shellenbarger reports that a California software CEO banned his 1,000 employees from using in-house email for a week, in an effort to get them “authentically addressing issues amongst each other.” The boss, Lars Dalgaard, “objects to email partly because people use it to avoid talking with others.” So far, Shellenbarger writes, “the edict is working. People are grabbing their phones or walking to each other’s desks to talk.”
“In related research,” Shellenbarger says, “email may make users feel less responsible for telling the truth.” According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, a recent study found “that people are more willing to lie when communicating via email than with pen and paper, and feel more justified doing so.”
Shellenbarger, whose Journal beat is work and family, admits to having “a little email backlash of my own.” A previously “heavy user,” she now believes that, “Increasingly an email seems to have less emotional significance” than a phone call or an iChat. “Readers,” she asked, “how well does email work for you in communicating in depth with someone? How much do you rely on it at work?”