Electronic mail has been used over decades as a simple collaboration tool by millions of individuals and enterprises. Many among us however are more and more disenchanted by what we perceive as an obsolete communication tool: we complain about our overloaded inbox and the ensuing frustration and productivity loss.

A McKinsey Global Institute study estimates that the average employee spends 28% of his work week (about 13 hours per week) reading and answering emails. Other studies finger point email as a major frustration factor at work. That’s why are witnessing in companies a trend towards a fundamental rethinking of emails usage and of the ways to communicate internally.

28% of the work week is spent dealing with email

Nowadays, enterprises, their employees and their clients are looking for communication tools providing them with improved communication and information-sharing. The new technologies provide us with tools working rather as a private social network, helping people communicate more efficiently with friends, colleagues and clients.

Electronic mail certainly has its advantages: short, limited or ad hoc communication. However, to communicate with a group or a team, there are better solutions which allow for conversations or subject organization, or for swiftly accessing files or adding/suppressing participants.

 

Electronic mail limitations

– Electronic mail is best suited to short communications where you expect a prompt answer. However, if you are collaborating or working on a project, electronic mail shows its limitations.
– Organizing your emails is a time-consuming task when you try to use tags or folders.
– Long conversations, often dealing with several subjects and multiple recipients present email with an unresolved challenge.
– Being able to communicate with one’s staff without having to always “reply to all”
– Invite other persons or whole teams who need to access previous mails, etc.…

According to a 2007 study it took a Microsoft team on average 15 minutes to refocus on their work after answering their emails.
In summary, electronic mail mirrors previous generations communications expectations and is no longer the preferred tools of the new generations used to WhatsApp groups, Facebook or other social media.

 

Communication 2.0

Today’s best collaboration technologies ensure your conversations are organized from the outset. Simply because you start sending messages only after having defined all parameters such as subject, individual permissions, recipients, notifications, etc.… These technologies also do away with lost mails and files scattered all over your mailbox. They encourage ideas sharing sometimes using social media inspired formats such as Twitters’ hashtag or the Facebook way of publishing shared comments.

 

Conclusion

Such solutions provide teams and groups with platforms enabling them to communicate in a smarter way. We are witnessing a collaboration trend within enterprises which leads decision-makers to rethink email usage. The new tools no longer are the privilege of larger concerns and are strongly penetrating all productivity-conscious enterprises, regardless of size.
Given the ever more ubiquitous presence of all kinds of social media in our daily life, this momentum towards collaborative tools keeps progressing becoming a “must have” for forward-looking enterprises.