As professionals, we use emails at work to communicate on a daily basis.
In fact, despite its widespread usage, the truth is that is not really that popular a tool, at least according to a Unify survey of 9,000 workers from the United States, U.K., and Germany.
Almost three out of 10 (28%) of those polled said they would like to see email removed from the workplace.
According to the survey, employees said it was inefficient and distracting, adding that there are more more modern ways of communicating.
Here are some methods modern companies can adopt to replace email as the dominant mode of communication at work.
1. Internal social networks
Social media is now taking center stage. Employers have a huge opportunity to use social media to their advantage, but so far, only 8% of employers are using it according to The EMPLOYEEapp’s Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey .
In fact, internal social networks can bring the engagement back to communications and help employees feel more involved.
Instead of sending that company-wide email on some policy update, post a quick status on the internal social network. Recognise achievements by tagging top employees, and allow co-workers to comment and congratulate their team mates.
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Create online groups where teams can collaborate and share ideas, pictures and videos instead of those boring progress-update emails.
2. Chat apps
The mobile workforce has outgrown email, and employers need to use more mobile forms of communication to keep up.
Interestingly, 69% of virtual workers surveyed by Interact in 2015 said the level of communication that could actually keep them engaged in their work was lacking.
Instead of taking the time to draft an email and then wait for a response, employees are using chat apps in order check in with their peers or manager in seconds, no matter where they are.
In fact, a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that workers who said their employers used mobile technology and communication well described themselves as more productive, creative, and satisfied with their jobs.
3. Face-to-face interaction
Why not go back to the basics? Jen Roberts executive coach and president of Difference Consulting said every leader is guilty of having used email rather than talking to someone in person.
The problem with email is people lose the ability to convey tone in communication.
“I’ve coached many leaders who have spent hours of precious time and energy writing the perfect message, only to have it be misinterpreted by the recipient,” she said.
Misinterpretation happens because people emphasise different parts of the message and “hear” it differently than was intended. Sometimes, the sender gets no response at all, and are left wondering if the person even received the message.
4. No email Fridays
Many companies are trying to stop the email floods by making certain times or days email free.
Hong Kong Broadband Network employs a no weekend email policy ensuring talent are able to recharge on their days off.
There is even a movement #NoEmailDay that started on 11/11/11. Its proponents advocate drastically reducing the use of email in general and many go as far as to suggest moving all written communication to social media instead.
You can join the NoEmailers this year on 6/6/16 and celebrate your very own No Email Day.
5. Move to France
The country is concerned that work emails after hours will harm employee’s health and long-term productivity.
So, parliament is currently discussing a law that would restrict off-hour email traffic.
Some companies are trying to protect their employees from the curse of 24/7 emails. German car maker Daimler, for example, has a policy of deleting workers’ emails while they are on holiday.
The sender gets a friendly request to resend the message post-vacation, or, in case of an emergency, to contact specific personnel.