A New Way of Working Remotely: Email and IM Aren’t Enough

Although the pandemic has drastically changed the way we work, many of us still rely on the same old digital tools to connect.

As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, it’s time to see how your organization can improve communication and collaboration, as telecommuting is the norm.

The start of residency applications in March 2020 forced companies to use all tools to allow employees to work remotely, often leading to a chaotic mosaic of inherent security risks.

Email is useful, but not ideal for collaboration

It is hard to imagine working without email. An E-mail has a role rooted in business and for good reason:

  • It is reliable, easy, and affordable.
  • It is effective for notifications.
  • It can be easily searched by date, sender, and password.
  • Can be organized into folders.

The problem is that email has become a mainstay. We use it automatically, rather than on purpose when it is best suited to the task at hand.

Due to these deficiencies, email should be used sparingly, even when working remotely:

  • Create data silos.
  • Does not support complex collaboration (more on that below).
  • It is a slow form of asynchronous communication.
  • It is distracting and time-consuming and can put your core business at risk.

Above all, e-mail prevents the effective sharing of knowledge, which is the basis for good cooperation.

More than half of remote workers avoided sharing documents because they were unable to locate them or because it would take too long, our recent (Igloo)

The search query was found.

So, is it better to have a chat than send an email? If you’ve been home for the past few months to catch up with Teams or Slack’s endless conversations, you already know the answer.

Chat just changed the problem or got worse

The interview programs raised expectations when they arrived at the workplace. In practice, this can be useful for purposes like these:

  • Reduction in the number of emails
  • Accelerate simple, two-way questions and answers to get on with the job
  • Fast feedback to employees
  • To allow social interaction for teleworkers
  • Make a voice or video calls

However, the instant messaging feature can be ingenious. The aforementioned digital workplace survey, which interviewed 2,000 employees in medium and large organizations, found that 39% of respondents falsely shared confidential content, from love notes to private company data, while exchanging messages with colleagues.

Some of the other disadvantages of instant messaging collaboration, which reflect some of the pitfalls of email, are as follows:

  • Capture valuable content and conversations across different channels
  • Provides noise and distraction from overuse
  • Wasting time on personal conversations
  • Create a stressful and always-on culture

More than half of employees admit to being overwhelmed with the number of non-work messages sent on programs like Slack and Teams, as we found in our survey.

In the world of COVID-19 remote work, it’s more important than ever to manage the chaos of unregulated and decentralized instant messaging.

There is an important distinction between simple and complex collaboration

Few things are easy in today’s climate, nor is collaboration in the workplace. See the collaboration as follows:

  • To facilitate collaboration, some employees must work together to create an export, such as a document or presentation.
  • In a complex collaboration, multiple stakeholders work together on a multi-faceted project with multiple deliverables.

How would you characterize your recent collaboration experiences? Undoubtedly, go to the complex with little or no personal interaction.

In complex collaboration scenarios with cross-functional teams, visibility is critical. Each team member must be able to view all files and conversations in context on demand. This is simply not possible if you only call via email and chat.

Data silos are enemies of successful collaboration. The research above shows that 1 in 4 employees uses at least two unapproved applications to get the job done, which only adds to the overall problem.

When people cannot share information, resources, and knowledge because they use different or inappropriate tools, this has far-reaching negative consequences:

  • Loss of time and/or duplication of effort
  • Suppress innovation
  • Mistrust in creation
  • Breaks the culture of the entire company

Teleworking is on the rise, so organizations need to find new ways to use their old tools to support complex collaboration.

A strategic hybrid model: it’s not just the tools you use, but the way you use them

Despite their limitations, email and instant messaging are indispensable in the remote collaboration toolbox, but only when integrated into a central destination that gives employees quick and easy access to relevant information and conversations.

The hybrid office collaboration model combines email, instant messaging, and intranet:

  • Instant messaging or chat allows for quick, direct, or group conversations and encourages a rapid flow of actions and ideas among employees.
  • E-mail facilitates slower and more detailed communication and serves as a searchable and organized file.
  • Your intranet is a great collaboration center, perfectly integrated with employees’ email and chat applications to maintain knowledge and place conversations in the context of activities/projects.

You are not alone if your intranet is not on the front lines. Your remote employees don’t need to use email and instant messaging. There is another way.

Create collaboration zones within your intranet

Creating a new intranet can be expensive and complicated and requires IT support and registration. Instead, consider creating customizable sections or team zones on your current intranet. They are simple, inexpensive, and do not require ongoing IT involvement, but they do define a framework for productive collaboration:

  • Provides a central destination with easy tools
  • Integration of preferred tools, such as chat programs
  • Put conversations and essential information in context
  • Improve knowledge management
  • Make sure the content is easy to find
  • Avoid wasting time
  • Increase transparency
  • Increase productivity with shared calendars and task lists

A total of 78% of respondents to our digital workplace survey said that if they did, they would explore their department’s intranet space with solutions designed to address the collaboration and communication challenges specific to their needs. This is a strong indication of the demand for specific departmental zones within the corporate intranet.

With pre-built software solutions, your organization can take advantage of the latest intranet technology and create a powerful destination for collaboration – all without taking away the tools and applications used by employees and without the central costs and practices of change management a completely new intranet.