The way we work has changed significantly, with advances in cloud technologies enabling more people to work from different devices, different locations and outside of standard 9-5 hours. However, in the midst of this ‘always-connected’ culture, the number of emails we receive can be a challenge and result in lost productivity.
This shift has left many of us under pressure to respond to high volumes of email communication as quickly as possible – taking up time we can ill-afford to lose and delaying other important projects. In fact, recent research undertaken by McKinsey Global Institute shows that the average worker spends two-and-a-half hours every day dealing with emails – that’s more than a quarter of most employees’ time.
By helping them to keep working wherever they are, web-based email does bring much-needed flexibility. Yet, as a standalone application, it doesn’t go that one step further and support common requirements such as file saving and editing, or the requirement to view different file types without having to switch between different applications.
Other common headaches include: finding ways to organise communications and documents in an accessible way; having confidence when it comes to storing and sending sensitive and confidential information and integrating different email accounts.
In meeting these challenges, integrated email, calendar, address book and file management application (advanced email clients), not only help users become more productive but also prevent the stress that the loss or corruption of files and messages causes.
Whether it’s in the office, meeting with a client or taking a call when out and about, it’s not always easy to find key project documents without trawling through files and emails and switching between email and network folders. Here, the opportunity to use advanced email clients to organise, preview, view and edit messages and different file types within a single folder makes using a single desktop interface all the more compelling, again contributing towards a real efficiency boost.
Rather than sitting at the same desk each day and having documents and correspondence within easy reach, many professionals are now using file-sharing tools to save and share documents so that they can get to them at home, in the office or when they’re elsewhere on business.
For email, client technology provides similar flexibility. Rather than dipping in and out of applications, users can keep all their information together and access and manipulate it in a simpler, more flexible and powerful way – almost like having a virtual PA working 24/7.
Confident that they are always looking at the latest and most accurate information, professionals can focus totally on making the best decisions for the health of the business, without constantly doubting and double-checking information being pulled together manually from diverse sources.
Capacity is another challenge when using regular email clients such as Outlook: if volumes of saved emails or heavy file attachments reach critical mass, working becomes slow and users may be forced to delete messages in order to release capacity. And if the database used by regular email clients to store messages and attachments becomes corrupted, it can be impossible to retrieve, causing further delays and inconvenience.
There’s no doubt that the number of professionals using mobile tools is continuing to rise, further boosting the appeal of cloud-based applications such as Google’s Gmail, Google Contacts, Google Calendar and Google Drive services. Yet the reality is that most of us want the best of both worlds, picking and choosing between free applications and standard Windows office and desktop-based tools.
The flexibility that an advanced email client brings supports this way of working, allowing users to create as many calendars and address books as they need as well as keeping them synced independently with different Google accounts. In addition, offline synchronisation means that when users don’t have access to a web connection, they can carry on working with locally-stored files without having to worry about work being lost or having to spend time saving files separately.
Added together, the effective functionality that email clients offers underpins the modern working landscape extremely well – boosting productivity and saving vital time for individuals and businesses.