Give Up Email for a Day and Communicate Better

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Imagine a day where no one in your office is allowed to use email and must communicate by phone or in person. If that thought scares you, perhaps you should give it a shot.

That was the suggestion of Mark Wilson, CEO of pre-employment screening services firm e-Verifile, who practices what he preaches. Wilson was the winner of Small Business Computing‘s “Share Your Success” contest, which looked for unique tips for small business and startup success.

Every Friday at Atlanta-based e-Verifile, employees can use email for external communications, but to contact their co-workers, they must use the phone or a little face time. The result, says Wilson, is a happier workforce that communicates better.

Email may be a great time-saver, but “it is also an easy way for important messages to get lost in translation, especially in the work environment,” says Wilson.

Reducing the volume of internal email reduces the number of “misinterpretations and misunderstandings and emails that don’t have clarity,” says Wilson. It also helps avoid endless, time-draining email chains.

No-email Fridays restore the human element of the business and can even be fun, says Wilson. Policing the policy has become a friendly competition among employees and helps build camaraderie, he notes.

Adapted from Announcing the ‘Share Your Success’ Facebook Contest Winners by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing.

kbollenbach5 1 Like

After the day I had today, your article was of great interest to me.I was involved in an e-mail string that quickly became confusing and frustrating for all involved.It dawned on me after I received a phone call from one of the people in the conversation that I was considered a bully!I reread through everything I wrote and for the life of me, can’t figure out why.I think that Mark Wilson hit the nail on the head when he said in reference to e-mail that “it is also an easy way for important messages to get lost in translation, especially in the work environment.”

My message certainly got lost in translation.In my communications ethics class we have been talking about ethics in organizational communication.Our text book says that many employees perceive that the most common forms of misconduct are “abusive or intimidating behavior and lying.”(Johannesen, Valde, & Whedbee, 2008)I have to wonder if the co-workers I was communicating with think that I’m unethical.My intent certainly wasn’t to intimidate.

With that being said, I’m going to try your suggestion.Tomorrow, I’m going to try and go the day without e-mail.I’m sure there will be some I have to respond to, but if I have a question for someone, I’m going to pick up the phone and call them or make a visit in person.I’m going to start with the recipients of today’s e-mail string.

Kelly M

Drury University Student

Johnnesen, Richard l.,Valde, Kathleen S., Whedbee, Karen E. 2008. Ethics in Human Communication. Long Grove, IL. Waveland Press, Inc.


It is an interesting idea but really it only offers a temporary solution to what is a common problem. Sometimes internal emails are the most pertinent method for communicating, other times it may be better to call or speak face 2 face, but the idea of simply decided to avoid email 1 day of the week is not the way to resolve the problem. 

Instead change the company communications philosophy. A good start is to use a collaborative Unified Inbox, in which multiple users can manage inboxes from social media, email along with Dropbox, Evernote etc in one place increasing productivity and reducing costs. 


Great Article! We are so reliant on technology that we at times become "paralyzed" when we lost our handphone. This practice is good as a Contingency incase the world's communication system failed.