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Is email the only way? Thinking outside the inbox.

Monday February 5th, 2018, 11:14 am

Is email the only way?  We now have an array of digital communications from social media to the phone.  Last week a client complained at being emailed by another colleague who sat just five desk away.  How often does this happen to you? We have a love hate relationship with email: its fast and easy but not always the best communications channel.  An over dependence on email at the expense of other channels is one of the primary causes of email overload.  Yet how many of us make the effort to think outside the inbox before hitting send.

Very few judging by many of my client’s experiences.  However, some leading organisations are being innovative and for example banning all internal emails and having no email days in an effort to both reduce email overload and improve communications.  These range from high-tech companies to housing associations and architects.  Others are setting boundaries outside which its OK to stop checking emails.

My email behaviour will influence your behaviour here are three ways to encourage others to think outside the inbox.

1.     Provide an incentive for them to talk to you.

2.     Use an alternative tool to provide information which people really need, for example the form for requesting leave, a sales update, for example OneNote, a collaborative platform such as Slack or Yammer.

3.     Implement email free times and email free office zones.

To reduce the email dependency (and even email addiction) above all else make sure you create the role model: next time you are about to hit send, get up and walk and talk to the person. Try responding to external email with a phone call?  You might be pleasantly surprised at the extra information you pick up to help progress that important sale.

Indeed stopping checking emails is fast becoming the new stop smoking for some.

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