The Half-Century Old Digital Technology Everyone Is (Over)using

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It’s been 43 years since Ray Tomlinson from ARPANET used the „@” character for the first time and sent the first email in history. Since then, walkmans became vintage gear, the 4 kb memory of the first Apple computer is now the size limit of a cookie in Internet Explorer and the number of worlwide internet users passed the 3 billion milestone.  Has the time to give up email – this digital office craziness cure-all – come yet?

Email Bonanza. Click Compose, write, send. Click Compose, write, send. Two times, three times, a hundred times. To that co-worker in Australia, that sales guy in L.A., the sweet girl standing near the watercooler. Plans, ideas, questions, answers, still don’t know how the hell am I going to solve this, a different plan, spam, a different correction, spam, an amendment from London office. Click Compose, write, send. Click Compose, write, send. Two times, three times. Delete all.

108.7 billion emails are sent and received each day. Most of them with business purposes, according to Radicati’s 2014-2018 Email Statistics Report. And things are only getting worse. By 2018, the typical worker would have to respond to 30 percent more email messages. And email already takes around 30% of our time, another study shows.

A better way of working with your colleagues

Email has became synonymous with our work. We overuse it because it’s there, it’s common, everybody has it, and now it’s accesible from our pockets even, as the tablets and smartphones market exploded. Granted, we need communication to do our jobs, but things have changed in the past 43 years and good ol’ email is falling behind. It knows how to do one job and, sadly, we need more ways to exchange ideas in this digital world.

We often complain that email is killing our time and our mojo, yet for some it’s the first thing they do every morning and the last before going to bed. Many companies have figured out they need to cut on unnecessary email and get more productive. Some have banned this communication tool during weekends and days off, while others don’t allow their personnel to write emails to colleagues working across the room.

The goal here is to order the information pool you and your colleagues swim in. The most effective way by far is to use email at what it’s good at, and have additional software do the rest of the work.

The digital workplace is all about productivity

If in a project that requires your team to communicate, (across the globe even), to share expertise and quickly find fixes, a knowledge sharing tool is best. Your team members will learn by asking specific questions, benefiting from all their team members’ expertise. It’s easier to follow conversations compared to email. And unlike the traditional mailing lists, you have additional features like voting for your favorite posts, following specific users or tags and spice things up with some gamification elements like badges and reputation points.

Many companies use such knowledge oriented tools for internal communication, so that employees know what’s going on in different departments without having to get tons of not-so-interesting emails that aren’t even open and end up in trash. Such software solutions allow workers to post, comment, edit and upload files. It’s a kind of a local social network without the gossip part.

Don’t discard. Update!

Email works for medium to long one on one conversations, but when you’re in a team and need to be updated with everybody’s progress, it’s more than it can handle. Many businesses have people working on innovative never-before-done projects and need information that they can’t trust from online sources. They have to rely on the experience and creativity of other team members, ask specific questions and get specific advices.

So I’d say it’s about time to start cutting down on unnecessary emails and find new ways to help with your employees productivity. Email is almost half a century old. Let’s try something innovative.

Happy Knowledge Sharing!

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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