Saturday, May 5, 2012

E-mail in the air

U.S. Army and UC Irvine researchers have found that not checking e-mail at work reduces stress and yields greater productivity:

E-mail “vacations” decrease stress (UC Irvine)
Taking E-Mail Vacations Can Reduce Stress (New York Times)
The Latest “Ordinary Thing That Will Probably Kill You”? E-mail (The Atlantic, via The Subliminal Mr. Dunn)

Wendy McNaughton’s flow chart may be helpful here: Should I check e-mail?

Speaking to the Times, Irvine professor of informatics Gloria Mark suggests that organizations rethink their use of e-mail, sending “once or twice a day, rather than continually,” so that employees not feel compelled to check the in-box again and again and again. I am amused by the possibility of the in-box turning into a good old-fashioned mailbox, with a regularly scheduled delivery.

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And at The Atlantic Wire, Rebecca Greenfield calls for an end to exclamation points in e-mail. I’ll stick by what I wrote in a 2011 post: “sparing use of the exclamation point in work-related e-mail can be a good thing.”

What I noticed immediately in Greenfield’s piece: she’s using HTML-formatted e-mail. To my mind, that’s worse than a dozen exclamation points. Plain text, please. Plain text is better. The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center wants you to use plain-text e-mail.

[I’ve added a hyphen to an unhyphenated e-mail in the Irvine and Atlantic headlines. The word email looks silly to me, especially when capitalized. I can’t do much about the hype in the Atlantic headline though.]

comments: 1

Barnaby Capel-Dunn said...

Fame at last (with an exclamation mark)!