Recent statistics suggest email is not the most effective way to reach employees anymore. A full 60.8% of respondents in a survey about workplace communication preferences revealed they either occasionally, often or always ignore emails at work. With so many people skimming their inboxes, how do you get important information out in a timely manner? Here’s what the survey results showed about how people prefer to communicate.
Demand for chat apps could grow as people avoid email.
Almost one out of two survey respondents (47.7%) said that reducing emails at work would make them happier in their job. Considering how hard business leaders work to make employees happy this seems like a relatively easy fix.
One of the most seamless ways to eliminate a lot of emails right out of the gate is to integrate chat into business processes. Popular chat platforms like Slack, Gchat or even Skype can help reduce the number of simple emails sent over the course of a day or project. Many chat platforms now enable the easy sharing of files and images, making collaboration convenient.
- Reduces the amount of short emails
- Can be easier to review history of a project rather than sorting through emails
- Facilitates employee engagement
- Chat platforms could be expensive depending on your business size
- Not suitable for sending mass information
If you’re implementing chat into your business one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is that chat has the ability to be a lot of fun. Encourage culture by setting up different chat groups (or channels, if you’re using Slack) for people to discuss their common interests.
Text message becoming preferred in some situations
Survey respondents did indicate that in some situations it’s easiest to send them a text message. In fact, 43.9% of respondents said that SMS message is the best way to reach them in an emergency. When you think about this, it does make sense — people are always on their phones. Statistics show that text messages have an open rate as high as 98%. If you want to reach someone quickly, text message might be the best way to go.
While texting might sound too personal for you to use in a work context, business texting services allow managers to add their team to a business texting list they can operate from a computer or app. From there, managers can text one-on-one or send a mass text message to their entire list.
- Personal, genuine way of communicating
- People read their text messages, usually right away
- Easy to send mass texts or text one-on-one
- Harder to send files than chat
- Not ideal for lengthy messages with a lot of information
When integrating business SMS messaging into your workplace, remember not to overdo it. One of the reasons people read and respond to text messages so willingly is because they aren’t usually inundated with texts in the same way they can be with emails. Limit your mass text messages to only several per month, and definitely don’t text business contacts late into the night or early in the morning.
In-person contact is still important
Sure, the introverts of the world are going to shudder at the thought but getting that valuable face time in with business associates is still valuable. You can’t underestimate the context that facial expressions and social awareness add to communications. Even though it might take some extra time, walking over to someone’s desk instead of sending them a simple email is merited every once in a while, if only to keep your relationships nurtured.
Incorporate in-person communication into your daily communication habits. You might feel it slows you down but stopping to put gas in your relational tanks will slow you down a lot less than running out of gas altogether.
- Avoid miscommunications that arise from a lack of context
- Develop relationships
- Helps communicate complicated topics
- Can take more time than sending an email, text or chat message
- A lot of people prefer to work alone and chatting face-to-face can be scary
As a business leader, you might get pushback if you start to insist on talking in person more often or even getting people to turn the video on when they’re doing conference calls. Be prepared for this but stick to your convictions. It’s important to develop relationships that will then ease the communication process when you aren’t talking in person.
Should you eliminate email?
There’s probably no way to get rid of email altogether, and that might not even be the best goal to be aiming for. What’s more important is to think of ways you can reduce the amount of emails you’re sending and compliment email with other communication tools. Finding a communication strategy that uses several methods can help keep the people you work with engaged and can draw on the strengths of each method to build a robust working culture.