U.K. phone retailer bans e-mail

U.K. phone retailer bans e-mail | CNET News.com

bq. John Caudwell, CEO of High Street mobile retailer Phones 4U, announced Thursday that he’ll ban all employees from using e-mail across the business.

bq. The reasoning behind the total ban is apparently to improve productivity by reducing the time Phones 4U employees spend unnecessarily on e-mail–which Caudwell estimates will save the company around $1.6 million (1 million British pounds) a month.

(1 million pounds/month on e-mail? Surely not!)

This seems a little drastic. Sure, e-mail can “chain you to your desk” if it is used poorly, but it has significant advantages over face-to-face communication in important areas:

* it’s not an interrupt: I can deal with e-mail on my time, not at the beck and call of the sender as with a telephone call or office visit.
* e-mail is high-bandwidth; It can transfer useful information much more effectively than a phone call. On the other hand, sometimes there is no substitute for getting two people together in front of a white board…
* e-mail crosses timezone boundaries. This isn’t an issue for a local phone retailer, perhaps, but is very useful when you are in Canada and have customers in Europe (plus 5 or 6 hours) and Australia (+12 to 14 hours)…

I think the better answer would be to train employees, instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater…

posted at 10:01 am on Saturday, September 20, 2003 in Science and Technology | Comments Off on U.K. phone retailer bans e-mail

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