Italian firm bans email to reduce stress

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Gabel CEO Michele Moltrasio banned internal emails in the workplace for a week. Photo: Gabel
17:11 CET+01:00
An Italian company has banned staff from sending internal emails for a week in a bid to reduce stress as well as encourage them to speak to each other in person.

Emails – once considered to be a godsend - are now seen by many workers as a burden, breaking down communication rather than improving it, and causing stress as recipients feel pressure to respond straightaway. Or guilt if they put it off.

This was the insight that emerged when Gabel, an Italian home textiles in the Como area, hired an expert to assess the wellbeing of its staff and advise on how to improve levels of satisfaction.

Many employees said that a major bane of their working day was managing the never-ending deluge of internal emails.

And so the company proposed – via one last email – to ban internal electronic correspondence for a week from November 9th.

Managing Director Emilio Colombo wrote in the email that the experiment would take the company "back to a time when people talked more and collaboration was immediately effective, with a common goal in mind".

The company’s CEO, Michele Moltrasio, also refrained from using email.

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“The ultimate objective is simple but essential: the wellbeing and satisfaction of all our staff, in every type of role,” Moltrasio said in a statement.

A constant stream of emails can raise stress levels, various studies have shown. One such study from the University of British Columbia found that limiting email use can significantly reduce stress.

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