Reducing your email burden

Feb 22, 2021

If you're sick of email replies and forwards and mass CCs and “looping in” and “circling back” then read on.  There is a much better way.

During the March 2020 lockdown the team here at vBridge created a 'Virtual Office' in Microsoft Teams.  We've been using this ever since for office chat.  It's got nice features like using emojis to react to other people's messages (👍😄☹️), sharing a 'laugh' with 000's of inbuilt animated GIFs, and grabbing people's attention by '@' mentioning them when you need a quick response.

Now I realise many people might still think emojis and animated GIFs have no role in 'serious' businesses, I know I did, but I suggest giving them a go as they truly add a new dimension to team communications.  And they are amazingly fast.  It's often true a picture says 1000 words.

Another beneficial thing about Teams chat is that if you've been out of the office for a bit it's easy to quickly catch up on what's been going on.  Teams is like Slack, and as the Slack team says, 'You could get buried in email.  Or you could get real work done in Slack'.

Our positive experience with Teams so far make me want to get more from Teams, and more importantly, get rid of more emails.   I expect the benefits of this are systemic and include:

  • Much more overall transparency - a wider group can see what's going on without being CC'd
  • More specificity - separate 'channels' can be used for separate topics - e.g., projects, specific teams.  You only need to look at a channel when you need the information - no more 'CC'ing
  • It's easy to indicate your 'thanks' to someone without sending [yet another] email
  • New team members can easily come up to speed with what's happening, and the discussions behind previous decisions.

So why am I still thinking about it?  Well, 1) it's hard for people to break habits, and 2) everyone needs to act together.  It's also a complicated topic where everyone has an opinion.  Teamwide adoption could just happen organically, but it's more likely if it's orchestrated.

That means selling the story, and as someone with the 'C' style on the DiSC quadrant, influencing or persuading others doesn’t come naturally to me…so I'm going to recruit someone who sits in the 'I' DiSC quadrant to help me.  Luckily, our CEO is such a person and if he doesn't support this idea it's probably dead in the water anyway!

I'd love to hear about your own experiences driving change to Teams (or Slack) in your own organisation.  How did it happen and what drove it?  Email has revolutionised business communications it was utterly amazing 30-years ago, but now it's dated and should be relegated.  What do you think?

Mondays Email GIF by ailadi

Peter Brook

Peter is our vBridge Operations and Information Security Manager. He has over 20 years experience in many NZ organisations including PGG Wrightson, CDHB, Lyttelton Port Company and Spark Digital.