Memorandum to All Employees

bolag1Delivered By Hand

To all employees:

Beginning August 1st, you will no longer be able to send an e-mail to another employee of our organization. After some study, we have concluded that such e-mails are almost never the most efficient or effective way to obtain, provide or exchange information. In fact, we estimate that as much as 20% of our employees’ time is wasted reading, writing and answering e-mails, beyond the time that it would take to communicate the same information using more appropriate means.

A face-to-face meeting, or, failing that, a telephone conversation, is almost always a more cost-effective way to convey or acquire information than e-mail. Our study suggests that in 95% of cases, a telephone call or impromptu meeting can communicate the needed information without the need for a formal appointment. Being available for such impromptu consultations is an essential part of every employee’s work, and beginning this year our 360 degree performance reviews will include an assessment of/by all the people you work with, regardless of level in the organization, on their/your accessibility, which will factor highly into overall performance appraisal.

Effective August 1, all employee Calendars will be visible to all other employees, and any employee will be able to book time in another employee’s calendar, with the invitee having the option of rescheduling or proposing another means to converse or meet, but not rejecting the appointment outright. We trust all employees to use discretion in the use of others’ time, and to use this Calendar booking option only when attempts to reach the invitee by a visit to their office or by phone have failed. To avoid excessive ‘telephone tag’ our voice-mail system will also, effective August 1, no longer accept messages between employees of our company.

Please note that, in addition to face-to-face appointments, phone calls and Calendar bookings, there are a number of other technologies available for communications:

  1. For simple, unambiguous, straightforward requests for information, approval, appointments or instructions, and replies to such requests, you can use the company’s Instant Messaging system. The system should not be used for more complicated matters — if it takes a respondent more than one minute to reply, it is an inappropriate use of this technology.
  2. For conversations that cannot occur face-to-face and which require looking at documents together, you can use the company’s Desktop Video & Screen-Sharing system. This tool requires no pre-booking and can allow users to ‘share’ the contents of each other’s screen while they converse.
  3. For ‘FYI’ type communications, the documents should be posted to the appropriate category of the company’s E-Library, where those interested in the document who have subscribed to it by RSS will automatically receive notification about it. If you think someone should subscribe to a category they are not subscribed to, suggest this through an Instant Message.
  4. For surveys, where you are seeking consensus, in those rare cases where a face-to-face brainstorming is not a much more effective means of achieving it, you can use the company’s Instant Survey tool.
  5. For group training or sending of instructions to a large number of people, you can use the company’s E-Learning tool for asynchronous training, or, if interactivity is expected, the company’s Desktop Video & Screen-Sharing system for real-time events.

Because e-mail and voice-mail have been used for so many things for so long, it will take some practice to wean ourselves off these sub-optimal technologies, and they will continue to be available for communications with those outside the company. You may be surprised to learn that e-mail has only been the principal medium for business communications for ten years. You will, we believe, find itliberating to be able to go home each day, and come in each day, with nothing in your inbox.

Let us know (drop by or phone us) how we can help you cope with any lingering e-mail addiction. Enjoy the freedom!

Respectfully yours,

The Management


(well, we can dream anyway)

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7 Responses to Memorandum to All Employees

  1. mattbg says:

    What’s this… positive liberty? Offenders will be tied up with piano wire?

  2. MMartin says:

    Many thanks for this blogpost. I linked it on our corporate intranet. Be sure I’ll tell you if my management reads it ;-)

  3. Richard Hare says:

    Definitely one for the corporate intranet..!

  4. Mark Matchen says:

    The greatest business memo never written. I thought of saying you need another clause on the limitation of Blackberrying, but the truth is, the one takes care of the other.This isn’t just good as a satirical way of looking at ourselves (like the great New Yorker cover art). This is utterly realistic, at least within a physical office.

  5. C Carmean says:

    Dang. There’s a dream management at work. Can I come work with you?Cee

  6. Jarrett says:

    Delivered by hand? Doesn’t that imply dead trees? Or is this purely an oral history? ;-)

  7. Jon Husband says:

    Any reason why you italicized The Management ?;-)

Comments are closed.