Is Email Dead?

Email

One hundred and seven trillion emails were sent in 2010, which equates to 55,000 emails per each active account. While it is often the case that more than 80 per cent of all email traffic is classified as spam, it’s clear that email volume is reaching tipping point.

More accurate daily averages for office workers are around 80 emails received and about 35 sent, which means most of us get an email every six or seven minutes while at work, and for many people the number is even higher.

Fifteen years ago email revolutionised the way the world did business. It brought about a remarkable increase in the speed, volume and transparency of communication. However, it also gave rise to less productive practices like spam and unnecessary copying in of multiple recipients.

As we know, it is all too easy to spend an entire working day reading, replying to and forwarding emails. For many workers, their sheer volume of emails makes it difficult to digest all the information, which inevitably leads to vital details being either misinterpreted or overlooked.

Today’s working patterns and habits demand the need for greater flexibility and frequent communication across all channels. Thanks to the democratisation of IT, generation Y are now adding to the glut of email, as they keep in touch with colleagues and clients from their variousdevices.

This in turn has led to business workers receiving constant email alerts, and inboxes filling up to a level that is sometimes near impossible to manage.

However, And thanks to video communications, cloud computing and social media, there are now even more efficient and personal ways of collaborating with your peers. So I’d like to offer a 5 key tactics that can help make your workplace less email heavy and more productive:

1. From video communications, through to social media and instant messaging, businesses have access to a huge range of alternative communication methods across a range of devices and platforms. These are used more often than not by staff in their personal lives, so a natural step for businesses wanting to reduce email traffic would be to consider enterprise-class communications solutions

2. Thanks to innovative technology, businesses of any size are now in a position to offer employees HD video conferencing solutions, no matter whattheir geographical location, bandwidth or device. This means they can take part in a face-to-face meeting no matter where they are working. It is also vital to use video conferencing suite that is interoperable with all devices so your staff can communicate with anyone no matter what technology the person on the other end is using

3. Speaking face-to-face with clients, colleagues or prospects will always be more valuable than an email. With email, it is often simple messages can be misinterpreted. These incidences of miscommunication are eradicated through the use of video communications, as participants are able to have an open, productive conversations face-to-face

4. Where possible, companies should utilise free social networks that their staff are already comfortable with using, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively organisations should also consider establishing an internal social network, alongside their intranet for more real-time communication as an alternative to relying on emails

5. From texting to tweeting we have all become experts at writing and receiving information in short bursts. Businesses should consider transferring this skill to the workplace and the email-heavy culture. Too often long emails are sent when only one point needs to be highlighted. Today, workers cannotafford to waste time and effort in long forms of communication. Companies of all sizes need to realise the benefits of alternative and more effective means of communication. Using a combination of HD video conferencing, social media and messaging tools, businesses will witness a surge in productivity, morale and a more manageable email inbox.

Is video and social media going to cause the death of the email? Will the inbox share the same fate as the fax machine? Perhaps not in the short term, but the transition from email-heavy behaviour to the frequent use of new communications tools will be a positive thing to see from businesses of all sizes.

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Michael Stephens is UK general manager at LifeSize. Michael is responsible for developing the UK business for LifeSize, driving the next generation of visual communications solutions and building a proactive and profitable partner community.