By Richard Messik, Chartered Accountant and Co-founder of Cloud Advocates
A recent article in the news caught my eye - a major UK company was seriously considering banning email as an internal form of communication. The company concerned was aware that the vast majority of internal (and probably external) emails were pointless and if the time taken to open an read were taken into account, the amount of lost time was considerable.
Actually this is not a new concept and has been discussed for some time - the success of email as a concept has been its own failing. It is so easy now to send off a quick email without giving it a lot of thought which has been the cause of many an embarrassment. Plus the fact that emails to the whole of an international group advising of cakes in the kitchen of the Bristol office does not exactly add anything to ongoing productivity.
Is there an alternative? Well yes - there are many. But they all revolve around using social media as a mode of internal communication. Possibly easier to manage... and more importantly, easier to ignore... social media very much has a place in the work environment if used responsibly.
Is it better than email? Possibly in the right circumstances but where any media is used to excess, or more to the point because people get lazy (we have all experienced receiving an email from someone sitting at the next desk!) it is going to fail through over use.
And of course, the main problem with email is the sheer volume of the stuff. Returning from vacation to an inbox literally overflowing was hundreds or thousands of emails, the majority of which are valueless is not an enticing prospect. In fact I know someone who, when on vacation, says in his out of office message that all incoming emails will be automatically deleted. If it is important resend it when I’m back. A brave, but very practical approach.
As for social media, the latest statistics state that the vast majority of the younger generation (whoever that may be) use it in preference to email and where they lead I am sure the rest of us will follow.
Richard Messik is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in Cloud Computing. He is a co founder of Cloud Advocates,an association of consultants who aim to demystify the Cloud and provide pragmatic help and advice for businesses, organizations and accounting practices. To find out more, visit www.cloudadvocates.com
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