When it was introduced, email reimagined how business operated and how work was managed and tasked. However, decades later, emails have become additional clutter and blockage of success for most of us.
To wholly appreciate how pervasive the use of business email is, let’s look at some numbers. By the end of 2016, an average of 116.4 billion business emails were sent globally, per day. By 2019, that’s expected to be almost 130 billion per day or around 5,42 billion every hour.
There is no denying it, work email has grown rapidly. But as that overall number climbs, so too does the number of emails an average office worker receives increases. In 2015 the average office worker received 121 work emails per day. Now that is clutter!
So how does this blockage fit into our workday? The reality is, it doesn’t.
Ever since our CEO wrote an article about her experience with productivity and email, we at WNDYR have become famous for standing behind our #noemail policy. In our quest to boost productivity at work, we’ve identified five primary areas of work that teams operate around. Let’s have a look at how your overstretched inboxes limit your success!
Email derails effective Communication
No one can argue that fast communication is an essential part of one’s workday. With all the various communication platforms, it can become increasingly frantic to effectively keep on top off requests from colleagues, finalising those dinner plans or following up with a client.
Email complicates things further as it does not allow for effective prioritization. An important request for your colleague might be on the bottom of your to-do list. And since your colleague cannot track where you are in the process, they now have to send you more email reminders, which take up more time and keeps filling up our inbox.
The few important requests or memoranda that did come through is buried in the blizzard, and if you did surface them, you’d be too stressed out managing the relentless volume to respond meaningfully.
Soon, you might start dreading hearing your email notification sound and opt to ignore requests, leading to ineffective communication and frustration – for yourself and those you work with.
Email overcomplicates and obscures Tasks
Wouldn’t it be great to task a team member and be able to see where they are in the process? Not needing to constantly send reminder emails and feeling anxious?
Let’s say you are the one that feels that you need to hound your colleagues to find out whether they have done or started with the task you assigned them. Your tasks are now suffering as you might need information from them to complete your report or presentation.
At the end of the day, you look at your task list and see that you could not get everything done, because you either do not know where your colleagues are in the process or your requests are simply ignored. Not only is your own productivity stinted, but your energy and stress levels are also now being negatively affected and your working relationship with your team members could turn sour.
Email fails as a storage solution for Documents
How many times have you needed to search for a document in your inbox? It can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack! And once you have found the document, you need to check if it is the most current version. Or, you have sent a document for review and you get several emails back, each with its own changes and comments. You now will have to spend more time combining and checking all the feedback.
If documents are not centralised in an organisation and more importantly if people are not working collaboratively, keeping track of the latest or correct versions of documents become a hassle. Each person’s computer and email becomes their own siloed vault of documents, and working in silos does not make for efficiency.
Email increases Meetings while decreasing their quality
In an ideal work environment, meetings should be conducted to either start or end off a project – unfortunately, most meetings today are done to track progress due to poor visibility within projects. As a result, we are often required to attend meetings that often feel like a waste of time.
Even more worryingly, the more dysfunctional a team’s communications are, the more likely they are to spend time in these kinds of wasteful meetings – emails flying to and fro concerning the status of a project frequently make things worse.
Once teams are able to quickly and simply track the progress of their projects, many of these meetings simply disappear – email is simply not the right platform to make this happen.
Email wastes more Time than it saves
This is probably the one area of productive working that suffers the most under the rule of email. If we look at all the other areas above, the one thing in common is that email causes you to spend more time on following up on tasks, in unnecessary meetings, sifting through documents and over-communicating.
It is nearly impossible to allow for sufficient time management when you or your colleagues are waiting for responses or hunting down documents in inbox folders. Your time management ability takes the strain, which has a knock-on effect on your daily workflow and at the end of the day, instead of being filled with a feeling of accomplishment, you are filled with the dread for the next workday.
Time to stop dealing with RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE:
The renowned interaction design expert and author of the classic handbook The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman, arguably has the best summary of why email fails us: “The problem is in trying to make email do everything when it’s not particularly good at anything.”
The reality is email has been around for over 40 years and while it is likely to stay for a while longer, this does not mean that you or your organization has to be governed by it. There are many more efficient productivity systems that can be implemented and consultancies like WNDYR will help you on your journey towards human acceleration.
Do you want to start working smarter and learn more about our human lead onboarding services? Our solution designers and implementation consultants can help you rethink the way your organisation does work. Contact Prasoon Ranjan, our VP of Customer Success to find out more.