No Email Day

3 years ago

Is too much email ruining your life? Are you struggling with information overload? Are you not as productive as you would like to be? If the answer is ‘Yes!’ then perhaps you should try taking part in the global ‘No Email Day‘ which takes place on Friday 4th April 2014 (4/4/14).

The premise sounds simple enough – avoid email for 24hrs so you can be more productive, social and collaborative at work! All other methods of communication: phone, SMS, face-to-face, social media, or handwritten notes are fine. It’s just email that isn’t. A crazy idea? Maybe not…

What an empty Email Inbox looks like on No Email Day

What’s it all about?

The first No Email Day on 11/11/11 went viral around the world after my original 9-page manifesto was read over 30,000 times on Slideshare following a story published on tech news site The Next Web. (At the time of writing it’s had almost 60,000 views).

Subsequent weeks saw thousands of people blogging, Tweeting and sharing the manifesto around the world. The campaign received international support and media coverage by the BBC Radio 5 Live, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Likehacker and The Sunday Times and IBM Benelux even launched their own social media campaign ‘Outside The Inbox‘ to coincide with No Email Day.

Around 300 people actively took part in No Email Day 11/11/11 to varying degrees of success and many more have continued to join in each year. The campaign seems to have split people’s opinion 50/50 on whether it’s a good or bad idea, genius or crazy. However, it’s clear that there are many people out there who say they need a day like this to help them focus on doing the ‘real work’ rather than just the ‘busy work’.

Is it really possible?

Admittedly not everyone will be able to go a full 24hrs without email but the main purpose of the campaign is to get people to think about how they are communicating, how often and whether it’s the best way to work or if they are actually creating more work for themselves and the recipients.

But could you really live without email, even just for a few hours? Former IBM Social Media Evangelist Luis Suarez has been living in ‘A World Without Email‘ since February 2008 and both he and Paul Jones (University of North Carolina) are key supporters of No Email Day and of replacing email with social media (see their great videos below).

Thierry Breton (Chairman and CEO of IT consultancy Atos) even declared that they would stop sending internal email completely and Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Webspam Team) recently blogged about his need to ditch email for 30 days.

Microsoft UK’s Social Media team and Powwownow have also said they will be getting behind No Email Day 2014, so how about you and your business?

Collaborative Working at Sage One

Sage One (the cloud-based/online accounts and payroll service from Sage) is designed to give people the freedom and flexibility to work whenever and wherever they want, and to save time and effort too.

Business owners and their accountant or bookkeeper can both login to their Sage One Accounts or Payroll system at the same time, saving them the hassle of sending lots of emails back and forth. The ‘Collaborate’ feature also enables them to share, track and audit documents up to 5MB in size securely online.

Sage itself is an incredibly social and collaborative company to work for too. We do still send email, but we also use social media a lot, have a great intranet and a company-wide Wiki we use to share information internally.

I’ve personally been very impressed by how much the Sage One marketing and development teams communicate offline through face-to-face conversations around our desks or in the office atrium, in daily stand-ups with whiteboards and via online tools like Basecamp and Trello to manage our tasks in 2-weekly sprints.

We also regularly use Skype and Google+ Hangouts to communicate with colleagues in other parts of the world, and to conduct guest interviews for the Sage One blog.

For a company the size of Sage (over 1600 people in the Newcastle HQ) it’s obviously not realistic for everyone to participate in ‘No Email Day’, especially our Customer Support Teams, but I’ll certainly be doing it myself. Maybe you could too?

Get involved!

If you’d like to take part in No Email Day, I recommend that you:

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below and/or Tweeting about your efforts to give up email including the #noemailday hashtag.

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