A few months ago the global BlackBerry network outage let millions of North America BlackBerry users without service for three days, causing massive frustrations to people who rely on these smart phones for business and personal communications.
Most recently Google mail service, Gmail, was unavailable for approximately one hour affecting according to Google “less than 2 percent” of Gmail’s user base, which translates to about 5.25 million impacted users.
Living in a world where technology is omnipresent we are getting used to tightly-couple our personal and professional lives to technology and gadgets like smart phones, tablets, GPS, WiFi, e-mail, and many other things that in one way or another contain small components of technology.
If you were among the unfortunate users impacted by any of the outages mentioned above you can attest that life goes on even when smart phones or e-mail service were down. Perhaps those outages helped to reduce your anxiety to keep checking your messages every two minutes and to start using fix phones and meeting with colleagues that had not seen in a long time even you may be working in the same floor. Reality is, those events did not impact your personal and/or professional life because maybe your counterparts were on the same boat or they had to wait until the technology glitch was fixed.
Companies across the United States of America are commanding or trying out “a day without e-mail” on Friday and/or weekends. As the proposal was welcome by some employees other obviously expressed irate responses via e-mail.
The main purpose of the proposal was to encourage more face-to-face and phone contact with customers and colleagues as well as give their employees a break of the increasing e-mail traffic. E-mail has been used as a medium to avoid confronting problems, create an endless e-mail chains that through the “hot potato” instead of taking action and it may contain abrupt and poorly phrased messages that instead of helping to find a solution would magnify the conflict.
As the “a day without e-mail” policy progresses gradually, in some companies employees had changed their habits and start meeting with their colleagues on Fridays having face-to-face discussions and realizing that business functions are not about e-mailing cold messages but human interaction.
For some intensive users of technology has become their “right arm” which is diminishing their ability to master interpersonal skills and increasing the dependency of technology in our daily activities.