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The Conference Room: The Great E-bate

by Erica Bauwens

The world is constantly updating and refreshing in an Internet-based society. To counter all of this madness, some companies have taken to setting limits on employee e-mail accounts to increase productivity. By filtering a certain amount of e-mails through per hour, companies hope to put the focus back on work and away from personal messages. Other companies believe this can damage a relationship with clients. Two local businessmen offer their opinion on the matter.

“The interruption of e-mail—whether work rela­ted or not—is an irritant that must be contained.”
Darren L. Crane, President (pictured, left)
DLC Technology Solutions, Inc., Marlton
One approach is to compartmentalize the employee’s attention to e-mail. Perhaps there are only certain times per day when they review and respond to e-mail. The rest of the time, staff are focused on getting their job done. … If an entire business were to adopt this strategy, it would need to consider the impact to their operations. Since e-mail is often used as a method of rapid communication, a way to place orders or open support requests, neglecting e-mail for too long may cause a reduction in workflow, customer satisfaction or sales. Each business would need to clearly understand their e-mail purpose. ... However, for the average worker with a focused set of tasks, removing the distraction of the e-mail ‘ding’ throughout the day would undoubtedly have positive results.”

“My position on limiting e-mails in a business setting would be dependent upon the type of business.”
Scott H. Marcus, Esquire (pictured, right)
Scott H. Marcus and Associates, Turnersville
“In my law practice, we have a high utilization of e-mail, both with clients and outside attorneys, and internally among our lawyers and staff. It is the main way we communicate, so I would not propose any limitation in this context. I am sure that is true for many other service-focused businesses. Additionally, today with electronic filing of pleadings, these documents are all filed using a covering e-mail. However, to prevent abuse by staff in terms of personal e-mails, we retain all data on our server, and in so doing limit the use of e-mail for personal purposes. On the other hand, in the context of a manufacturing business, I could see putting a limit on e-mail usage by employees whose only e-mail use would be for personal reasons.”

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 12 (December, 2011).
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