Email is the physical mailbox of the virtual world. It was designed to make it easy for anyone to reach anyone about anything and, thus, was built for broad, ubiquitous communication. But organization needs have drastically changed since the creation of virtual mailboxes. Now, companies require collaboration hubs that tick off all the communication-needs boxes. Moreover, not only is email becoming less useful, but it is also pulling engagement away from the effectiveness of your collaboration hub.
Below, we outline three key design features that prevent email from being a suitable mechanism for collaboration. We hope this information allows you to make an informative decision with your fellow teammates about how to shift communications to your collaboration hub.
1. Anyone can email you about anything The ping of an email inbox can draw your attention to an important document, a marketing solicitation, or a phishing scheme – there is no prioritization. Last in is the first up, and important contextual information is missing. Who is this from? What is this about? Do I need to take any action on this?
2. Email inboxes are terrible knowledge repositories Information quickly gets buried in email. Depending on who is cc’d on what, conversations become fractured into an array of email strings that need to be pieced together. Teams also run into version control issues as each team member works on a different static version of the same document. All these inconveniences add up, bringing down organizational productivity.
3. Email is built for one and done communication Have you ever selected “reply all” when you meant to send a private message to the sender? Ever sent an emotionally charged message that you wished you could pull back? Recognized a careless typo immediately after clicking send? Forgot to attach the document you referenced in the body of the message? Ever been the victim of a steady stream of responses that all essentially just confirm receipt (“I got it” / “Thanks”)? Email is simply not conducive to revision, recall, or response, and this lack often causes frustration and misunderstandings.
A collaboration hub, such as MS Teams or Slack, is designed to solve these problems. For example, messages can be easily edited and deleted. As well, information is organized by team, topic, and project, providing important context and keeping all the pieces of a conversation connected. You can also “@” someone to draw attention to the fact that they are being asked to respond. All of these factors improve the quality and efficiency of communication and collaboration. For these reasons and then some, we are currently working on getting zero internal communications via email, ensuring we take advantage of our organization’s more efficient technologies.
If you’re curious about implementing a collaboration hub or have one but are unsure how to optimize team use, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to discuss critical factors specific to your organization that will help ease the transition or improve your current workflows.