Zeldes' clients aren't addicts or road-ragers, however - they just can't manage their e-mail. And Zeldes wants to liberate them. Better than anyone else, he knows that e-mail's promise of instant global communication has its dark side: By the time you look up from your inbox, half the day is gone.
At Intel, where Zeldes is the computing productivity manager, based in Israel, this is ominous stuff. Employees of the semi-conductor giant collectively average 3 million e-mails a day, Zeldes reports, with some people racking up as many as 300 messages in one 24-hour period. No wonder each Intel employee spends an average of two and a half hours a day wrangling with his messages. "We're so wrapped up in sending e-mail to each other, we don't have time to be dealing with the outside," Zeldes says.
Five years ago, Zeldes decided to do something about it. Using Intel's Israel division as a guinea pig for his e-mail experiment, he developed a training program to help employees take back their inboxes. His initial course centered on team discussions about how people work together and how to improve the efficiency and communication between the individuals on those teams.
It was a quiet endeavor at Þrst, but when news of the experiment started leaking out of Israel, Intel workers worldwide demanded to be included in the program. So two years ago, Zeldes was asked to develop an expanded version for rollout across Intel's other ofÞces in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Courses in Asia and in the United States soon followed.