Delete to the rescue

Arianna Huffington’s new startup uses a program that automatically deletes any email you receive while on vacation

In her quest to salvage humankind’s personal life from the incessant creep of work, Arianna Huffington is a powerful advocate for long vacations, long nights of sleep and long escapes from one’s devices.

Now she has proposed a cure for what many professionals might call the cancer of modern working life: vacation-disrupting email. Surely everyone has debated which is the lesser evil: devoting a portion of each vacation day to email management, or returning with utter dread to a mountain of accumulated messages? The first choice, tackling work as it comes, may seem more disciplined, not to mention kinder to your next-week self. But how kind to your spouse and children are your daily disappearances into your phone?

The problem has become too big to ignore. France even went so far as to implement a new law in 2017, allowing employees to ignore after-hours email.

At her new startup, Thrive Global, an information site devoted to health and well-being, Huffington addresses the problem at the user end, with a program that deletes email during one’s vacations, after dispatching an out-of-office message specifying date of return.

“It’s not waiting for you when you get back or, even worse, tempting you to read it while you’re away,” Huffington wrote in an essay this summer in the Harvard Business Review. “It frees you from the mounting anxiety of having a mounting pile of emails waiting for you on your return – the stress of which mitigates the benefits of disconnecting in the first place.”

Might crucial messages be missed? “If the email is important, the sender can always send it again,” Huffington wrote.

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