Brett Sadler

No Email at Work – What Would You Do?

ImageRecently at work we were without Email for over 24 hours. In fact, we weren’t able to access our networks at all during this time, including our phone system (which of course is networked).

It was certainly a good test for our business continuity plans (now I know what they are for!).

But, in a lot of ways the more interesting test was to see how staff adapted. Inevitably there were some staff that grouped together to ‘chat’ and if asked, I’m sure they would have said they were talking about work. But if they didn’t have any paperwork to do or any work related conversation to have with colleagues, what exactly could they be expected to do?

ImageThis is often a quoted downside to being so IT connected. If something like Email or even the phones go down, then everything pretty much comes to a standstill.

In fairness, our business continuity plans worked pretty well. The main switchboard numbers were still open (transferred to our satellite office).  We’re yet to receive feedback from our customers on whether this caused them any problems in getting in touch with us. We’re also looking to review what happened to see if there are any lessons learned for us as an organisation.

But what would you do if that happened to you at work? For me, I kept on reaching for the keyboard and mouse, as this felt very natural. Also, being someone who tries not to use Email (see my earlier post on Email), this shouldn’t have been such a problem. And yet it was. Thankfully I was still able to use Twitter, so I felt at least some ways connected to the outside world. Mobile phones were also still working during the downtime. I also had the use of my works iPad, so could do some research on the internet. But the arguably traditional way of contacting staff, through Email, was out of bounds. The age old ‘send out a group Email’ to let everyone know what was happening was just not possible!

It did give me (like other staff) the chance to catch up on some paperwork and reports that I had just been putting off. And therein lies one of the problems. I could have done this all along really. Why did it take the network going down for over 24 hours for me to do this?

I’m almost tempted to say it’s worth switching your servers off at work for 24 hours to see what happens. You might just learn a thing or two.

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