Email is the defacto communication standard in business today. This is interesting considering the first email sent was in 1971, and the fax machine has come and gone since that time. Email continues to be useful in the business environment, BUT it time to consider alternatives for many scenarios.
Here are three ways you should STOP using email:
As an instant messaging platform
First, let’s clarify that email was designed to sent messages using a network that was unreliable at the time. Email was never supposed to be “instant” like text or chat messaging is today. The massive amount of one-word responses going back and forth via email is extremely inefficient. Combined with the inevitable CC: line with ten people on it and we have a group chat based on technology from the 1970s.
Any business utilizes Microsoft Office 365 has access to Microsoft Teams. This application is the new “front door” to all things Office 365, but we will get to that in another post. For today’s purposes it’s sufficient to know that Teams allows for instant, secure, logged, chat-based communication inside your organization. Notice outside is not something we recommend at this time, BUT it is possible to do this also.
Switching to a chat-based application for internal communication will great reduce the volume of email inside your organization, and make your teams more efficient.
As a file sharing system
File attachments were never meant to be part of the email system. This was an add-on that unfortunately became the standard way to share files between people and organizations. Email is completely insecure. It sends information, including attachments, in plain text over the Internet. This is the reason we know have all the various secure message platforms that everyone loves logging into. Once an attachment is sent you also lose control of it and have no way to access updates or edits others may make. Begin the rounds and rounds of edit and re-send that go in in today’s offices!
Switching to a file sharing application eliminates the need to utilize email for this purpose. There are many business class application available for this purpose. Two that we utilize are Citrix ShareFile and Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint. Both these applications will security integrate with your existing Office 365 environment. The biggest time saver is that collaboration on documents can occur in real-time without the constant back and forth emailing of attachments!
As a file storage system
Once all your documents started arriving via email, why not just go ahead and store them in your mailbox folders? Now your mailbox is 10x the size it should be, and you don’t have a way to search inside the documents. Sure storage is cheap, but mailboxes over 50GB signify a document storage issue, hoarding of information, or both!
Pulling all those documents out of your inbox is time consuming. We suggest utilizing an Online Archive mailbox to move all emails (and associated documents) that are more than a year old out of your primary mailbox. This will speed up your daily email activities, and declutter your mailbox. We promise you won’t miss it as much as you think. If you can also start utilizing a file sharing system as recommended in #2 above you will be well on your way to higher productivity!
You could dig with a hammer, and nail with a shovel, especially if all you had was one of them. Fortunately email is not the only tool we have to share and store information anymore. So put that hammer down, go grab a shovel and start digging!