Consider Letting That Text Just Sit There a While

We shouldn't feel pressured to answer every work communication instantly, Eric Dhawan writes
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2022 7:03 PM CST
Consider Letting That Text Just Sit There a While
   (Getty/Elena Merkulova)

Ghosting in a personal relationship context gets more attention, but there's plenty of it on the job, too. An Indeed survey found it's common for employers and job candidates to flake out on interviews. Erica Dhawan makes a case in an opinion piece in the New York Times for ghosting—or at least responding to a work text or email when it's more convenient—becoming a more acceptable part of workplace etiquette. Given the constant deluge of email, texts, instant messages, and Zoom requests—not helped by the increase in the number of people working at home—it might make sense to go dark when the next "Where are u????" text arrives from a colleague during dinner.

We're already taking a step toward this, Dhawan writes, when we set priorities about which messages to answer immediately and which to put off. Cal Newport, a computer science professor who wrote the book, "A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload," calls this performing triage, which can help avoid cognitive overload. And we should take the pressure off ourselves, Dhawan writes, to stop what we're doing and answer every communication. Even the Emily Post Institute points out that when the phone rings, we're not obligated to answer it. "It's also worth asking yourself who's putting the pressure on for an immediate response," Dhawan writes. "Perhaps it's not the message sender, but you." You can read the full piece here. (More cognitive overload stories.)

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