Four years ago, when Doug deGrood was copied on a “reply-all e-mail chain from hell,” he decided he’d had enough. As creative director for Minneapolis-based Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB), he knows it takes focused concentration to come up with the best ideas. So deGrood implemented “no e-mail Wednesdays,” which applies to internal e-mails sent by the advertising agency’s 35 employees. (Messages sent to clients and outside entities are exempt.)
Citing research, deGrood explains that it takes 30 minutes for a “deep brain dive” to solve creative challenges. Each time a distraction pulls you away from that challenge, the process starts over. He also references a January New York Times article, which pointed to studies showing that people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish.
At first, GdB employees were baffled by no e-mail days; now, many tout the benefits. In an annual employee survey, the ban is routinely listed as one of the agency’s best attributes, says Creative Director/CEO Tom Gabriel.
Project Manager Kristina Fenner says face-to-face facilitates clearer, often more productive discussions.
No e-mail Wednesdays are ingrained into GdB routines. But to ensure that no one forgets, deGrood sends a weekly reminder . . . via e-mail.