Why corporate email is bad for your business, and how to escape it.

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Business background with drawn ideas. Email concept

Regardless of what you call it — email overload, email fatigue, inbox clutter, or just plain email noise — corporate email is out of control. And if email is still the primary communication and collaboration tool in your organization, then your employees aren’t being as productive or innovative as they could be.

Here are 3 huge problems with email:

1.) Doing everything in email makes people dumb.

Undoubtedly, your employees are already drowning in a sea of CC’s, reply-to-alls, and endless email chains. Not to mention spam. Lots and lots of spam. It’s annoying, sure, but how bad is it really? Well, the average corporate user spends more than 25% of their workday reading and responding to email. And a study showed that the distraction from email reduces worker’s IQ by 10 points (that’s 2x more than smoking marijuana). That bad enough for you? But wait, there’s more…

2.) Email actually hurts communication.

When all your communications are email-based, each message you send becomes less important. Crammed into the recipient’s already over-stuffed inbox, your message won’t get the attention you want and deserve. Then, when colleagues can’t be sure that their messages are getting read (or even seen), email itself becomes less and less effective.

For one-to-one and one-to-many communications, email can suffice. But consider the scenario of many-to-many communications like planning an event, collaborating around revising a document, or building consensus among a group. If you’ve ever been the recipient of a 50+ email chain from multiple parties trying to plan or agree on a project, then you know how much time is wasted tracking the conversation and identifying an outcome, if there even was one.

Worst of all, when someone is fired or quits, all the information in their email client effectively disappears from the rest of the organization. Past conversations about issues or solutions are essentially unavailable to current and future employees so the issues must be revisited and solutions recreated, wasting valuable employee time and company money. Why is email so bad?

3.) Email was never intended to be a collaboration tool.

email_drawing_smFrankly, email was barely meant to be a communication tool — early email (circa 1972!!) consisted of putting a message in another user’s file directory where they could see it, like leaving a note on someone’s desk. Email advanced over the following decades, but it still retained its inherent flaws: Never-ending threads, reply-to-all buttons, address changes, response time, and a host of others. Email’s biggest pitfall, however, is as a collaboration tool. For document sharing, editing, or other document-related activities, using email quickly grinds productivity (and your mail server) to a halt. Because email encourages wasted effort, version confusion, and task redundancy.

Need the latest version of a document? Are you sure the one in your email box is the latest and not the one being updated on someone else’s computer right now? Studies suggest that having to search through email to find current information or documents leads to a 20% or more productivity loss. Then there’s the constant security concerns of corporate hacking and virus-infecting. At the end of the day, email simply isn’t as capable, functional, or intuitive as using an Enterprise Social Network.

What makes an ESN better than email:

  1. Finding specific people with the expertise you need is easy
  2. Reviewing documents doesn’t require spending a lot of time tracking comments, deciphering feedback, and consolidating edits
  3. Building consensus or getting opinions from a large group of employees is simple and doesn’t requires backtracking through a large chain of emails
  4. Getting to know co-workers and build teams is easy with detailed profiles
  5. Sending large files is effortless, and won’t clog up the recipients’ email client
  6. Helps make “on-the-spot” decisions a lot easier than email

How to make the break from email.

If email is entrenched and ingrained in all your business activities, making the break can seem daunting. But with an Enterprise Social Networking platform, you can slowly wean people off email and end the chaos and clutter that has been plaguing your organization.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Review how email is used in your organization and look for ways to reduce your email distribution lists and aliases
  2. Experiment and find new ways to communicate and collaborate within your organization to ease the transition
    1. Set up “email-free days” to encourage employees to use your ESN
    2. Post meeting minutes and action items to your ESN only
    3. Broadcast important bulletins, updates, etc. on the ESN  especially when feedback would normally clog inboxes
    4. Collect preferences on proposed dates/times for meetings or events; use polls with replies for discussing options.
  3. Get everyone used to the idea of going to your Enterprise Social Network by posting important corporate communications that relate to everyone.
  4. Move aliases and group communications to a team workspace and start informal discussions surrounding ideas, projects, and goals
  5. Make employee activity reporting less formal and keep everyone in the loop by posting employee, event, or project reports so they’re accessible to other team members

Get your workforce a modern workspace.

With a solid adoption plan, a few champions, and some well-thought-out use-cases, your company can eventually escape the productivity-killing specter of email. See how tibbr can supplement your current email system and increase employee communication, collaboration, and productivity — get a free trial of tibbr now.