And Slack Can’t Replace This Alternative
Let me start by saying that I️ love technology in the workplace. Just the thought that we have evolved from telephone, fax and email to social media, messengers like slack has completely changed the communication landscape.
However, I do believe that no matter how far technology advances in regard to workplace communication channels, in-person communication still remains king.
Group Emails Are Stealing Your Time
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve experience my fair share of group email threads. While going through email threads I’ve noticed my co-workers have less meaningful content to add in email threads than in in-person meetings. If you haven’t gotten the point by now let me bring it home by stating that email threads between groups of people are a complete waste of time.
Imagine someone sending you an email with 10-people copied on it. You receive the notification and stop working on a project that’s due by the end of the day. Checking your email while in the middle of a project is normal at your job except the sender decides to fire off this email at 4PM! That means 10-people now have to stop working (or packing up their things to beat rush hour) to read an email that may have taken five minutes to write when it could’ve been said in less than five seconds. Continuing with the scenario, all 10 people receives, opens, reads and comprehends (all at different speeds) the email but now you have to wait for that endless wave of responses to flood your inbox. That means if all ten people were to respond there is a possibility that 10-people, each taking five minutes to type a response, may cause the group to spend close to an hour on one email conversation. I don’t know about you but I know my time can be better spent doing something that could impact my company’s bottom line.
Carbon Copy Is Destroying Your Trust
When I first started using email in the workplace I admit I didn’t know how to properly use it. I knew how to technically send an email but email etiquette was totally lacking. It wasn’t long before I noticed that my co-workers loved to Carbon Copy (CC) anyone that had a pulse in the workplace. Managers would tell me that copying people is the best way of emailing because it “kept people in the loop”. Unfortunately my peers didn’t always see CC the same way my managers did.
My peers were ok with CC each other when the topic was light and funny but when I manager, from another department, sent us an email with our manager copied on it the atmosphere around my group quickly changed. What was a great place to work now was shifting towards a place on complaints and frustrations.
“Why does he have to copy my boss on the email? He makes it seem like he can’t trust me to deliver what we wants.”
“Why does she want to make me look bad in front of my manager? She must be out to get me.”
“They are using these emails as proof to let me go, I just know it.”
There are just a few statements that I would hear in the breakroom or after work between my peers. Clearly carbon copying people had everyone paranoid and ultimately cause them not to trust upper management. To be honest, I had to side with my peers on this one. Carbon Copying management on emails isn’t a great idea if you run the risk of losing your team’s trust. It may seem necessary but a good manager is going to know what is going on with his time through weekly standup meetings anyway.
In-Person Communication Is Underrated
During my time in the corporate workplace I’ve found that nothing beats in-person communication. Whenever I need assistance from multiple shareholders in the building, I always try scheduling a meeting (15-minutes max if possible) to express my ideas. Doing give me the following benefits:
- Exposure of body language (eye rolls, arm folding, etc)
- Instant feedback (no more waiting for responses)
- Everyone leaves on the same page (no more skimming email threads)
Even when there is a need to speak with a single co-worker I’ll walk over, say hello and explain why I’m interrupting them. If you’re ever in need to communicate with someone within your office please do yourself a favor: Get up, get in front of them and communicate face-to-face.