As more and more innovative new chatting platforms begin to show up in the workplace, Australians might be wondering about the effectiveness of email as a communications tool. Though most systems have added helpful new tools to supplement old-school email, the fact remains that employees' inboxes are constantly jumbled and overflowing. It might seem logical to just switch platforms, but are there better alternatives to email as a workplace communications tool?
The answer is yes and no - we're already seeing the rise of unified communications systems in businesses across Australia. However, most of these systems integrate email with other helpful tools, like video chat and business phone systems, so it hasn't been completely replaced.
Are there better alternatives to email as a workplace communications tool?
In order to see where email might go in the future, we must first look at where it came from, what its benefits and drawbacks are and what effects the rise of unified communications could have on it.
Email in the workplace: How has it evolved?
Email has been around longer than the average person might realise - though it was only adopted by the mainstream in the late-90s, it was actually invented in 1971 by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson. People quickly recognised the benefits of such a system, with one 1978 research study on electronic mail quoting as follows:
"Among the advantages of the network message services over the telephone were the fact that one could proceed immediately to the point without having to engage in small talk first, that the message services produced a preservable record, and that the sender and receiver did not have to be available at the same time."
Since the 20th Century, email platforms have evolved to encompass a whole host of new tools and technologies, yet the overall system has stayed the same. That, however, might be changing with the introduction of advanced unified communications platforms.
Is email the best, or is it not?
The fact that email has remained the primary form of communication in workplaces around the world is fairly remarkable, given how much has changed in technology over the past two decades. A recent Robert Half survey revealed that 73 per cent of CIOs and 53 per cent of workers still consider email to be the best form of business communication. Why?
- Email is quick - you can easily shoot someone a message rather than find them in person or call them.
- Email is easy to use - email platforms are all quite user-friendly, meaning that employees from all walks of life can get up to speed on the technology quickly.
- Email archives all your information - this prevents you from having loads of files and papers in your office, or from forgetting information transmitted over the phone. It's also searchable, allowing you to find whatever you're looking for with ease.
With that said, these benefits are fairly outdated - newer technologies offer the same speed, organisational capabilities and freedom, and more. What are the drawbacks to email in this regard?
- Email inboxes become overcrowded - staying on top of your inbox is increasingly difficult, which can be cause of stress for many employees.
- Email's technology is outdated - with the advent of things like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, people want more. Email is fairly one-dimensional in comparison.
- Email is less secure - hacking has become quite common, and non-encrypted email platforms are susceptible to data theft.
Luckily, there are systems out there that provide businesses with the benefits of email while adding a number of handy new tools, like video chat, file drop, instant messaging and conference calling.
Unified communications and email
Atomic 212, an Australian advertising company, recently banned all internal emails from the workplace in an attempt to boost productivity and staff communication, according to journalist Frank Chung. So far, it's working, says Atomic 212 director of operations Victoria McKeown:
"We are seeing more talking and more communication, and this helps to build culture and productivity."
"We are still learning how best to implement the program, and we are testing through trial and error as we go along, but so far we are seeing more talking and more communication, and this helps to build culture and productivity."
Though this is an extreme measure to take, it highlights the fact that there is more out there than email. If anything, new systems can help ease the pressure of the inbox and provide colleagues a way to video chat, instant message, share files and have conference calls, all from one platform.
Fonality offers users a revolutionary new tool, recently adopted by NetFortris, called the Heads Up Display. The system has been shown to save employees up to two hours a day in productivity - this is valuable time that can now be better spent building relationships with customers rather than sifting through emails.
Unified communications systems haven't kicked email off the block quite yet, but they're undoubtedly changing the face of business communication technology. For more information, or to get a quote, please reach out to a representative at Fonality today.