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Is it an email or a conversation ?

Believe it or not, 20 years ago – when people formally communicated they wrote to each other. A letter was written, in many cases by hand, put in an envelope – then we all licked the envelope to seal it (I am revealing my age by admitting to that), put a stamp on it and then put it in the post. Days would  pass and then you would get a letter in the mail. Now through technology and convenience we have taken this concept to a new level. We are at the point of replacing conversations with email. This phenomenon is highly visible in any workplace.

HOWEVER, has it streamlined out workplace. To an extent Yes – but the mass use of email is almost pushing the effective use of writing to each other the other way. Our email users, unless they are effectively using their email – are developing email immunity. People are just glazing over their email inbox just like their facebook timeline and picking the ones that get their attention or they think need dealign with immediately, which puts them into an ever diminishing circle. In the end, many emails get missed, half read and end up in in your inbox 3 months down the list.

A common thing we talk about through our work with clients is to seperate a conversation from email, and either talk to someone (yes Gen Z, have a conversation) or use an instant messaging tool, or other media communication tool. Why is this important for workplace efficiency. Well lets think back to our office 20 years ago and understand why we would write a letter. Because it took some effort to do, and had to generally be posted it predominately had content in it that was important, informative or had a purpose around its subject that needed some input or thought by the reader. Lets apply that concept to emails within our workplace, and put conversations into an instant message tool like Hangouts by Google, Skype, Yammer or the other many industry capable tools. For all those emails that have “Hey, return Tonys  on 123 456 789” or “Judy came in to see you, call her back” or “will someone get some coffee, we are out” into a conversation tool we are starting to reduce the clutter in out inbox. Most IM tools have the ability to report as to if the reader has read the message, and even more sophisticated ones based on social networking structures allow you to like the content. This tells you, the intended recipient has actually read and understood the message.

Some research shows that by separating a conversation form a letter or more formal communication, we can reduce your inbox size by over 50%. Ahhh, but I use outlook for everything, its all in one place. Good argument, however is this effective use of communication. Well only you will know, but there is an argument to open up your thoughts on having a much more functional and communicative staff by keeping the important stuff in emails and general conversation in a conversation tool.

De cluttering your workspace and getting staff to use this their tools in a more effective way is something we can help you with. We have seen some far more efficient practices and helped manage the uptake and management of some small changes. Contact us here if you would like a no obligation, free consultation on how we can teach you effective ways to use technology to better communicate and declutter your workspace.