May 12, 2015

This hospital banned email on Fridays

Daily Briefing

CBS Boston this month spotlighted Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth's efforts to reduce the burden email place on its workers by creating email-free Fridays.

Research suggests that as much as 28% of a worker's time now is spent on email, and a recent survey of Beth Israel workers showed that employees felt overwhelmed by the online communication.

How to fight back against excessive meetings and email

To lighten the email load, the hospital created email-free Fridays. On these days, external email is allowed, but internal emails are discouraged. The hope is that employees will take the opportunity to get up from their desks and connect with colleagues in person.

Carol Burns, chief clinical dietician at the hospital, says email was getting in the way of important work. It was also preventing her from connecting with colleagues. "There are people that I have probably communicated with for years who I have no idea what they look like, and they don't work that far away from me in the building," she says.

Ron Rutherford, the hospital's chief information officer, says email-free Fridays have "turned out to be a great success," adding, "maybe we will start a trend" (McKinnon, WBZ-TV/CBS Boston, 5/4).

The takeaway: To fight back against an overwhelming amount of email, one hospital has decided to declare Fridays "email free."

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