Ask someone to name the things they couldn’t live without. Email would probably fall in the same category as food or sleep in today’s modern world. But as the emails pile up, we can’t help but wonder: Are we doing it wrong?
Emails devour a day and a half from a typical employee’s workweek. We need an average of 13 hours to read, write, send, delete and sort the myriad of messages. On top of this, we should respond to emails in a couple of hours after receiving them, an unwritten rule states. All this while we do our more important tasks, the ones that really matter.
It gets harder to focus when you constantly hear the noise of information flow. Overusing email is counterproductive. But worry not, there are answers to cutting down on your emails.
Collaboration outruns competition.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime,” said Babe Ruth, the legendary American baseball outfielder and pitcher.
Today’s workplace, where overachievers face each other, seems tailored for competition rather than collaboration. Setting a common goal and working together towards reaching it helps each individual gain more points at the end of the day.
In a collaborative environment, team members understand that knowledge hoarding is a bad idea and organizational culture gets a real boost. As the concept of “knowledge is power” loses ground, the benefits of tribal knowledge starts emerging.
Get rid of up to 80% of email.
Many teams use in the modern workplace a mix of email, intranets and ESNs for communication. “We use Slack and our email volume has dropped by 80%,” Simon Peck, Co-Founder & CTO at The Hunt, says. Slack creates open channels for your projects, groups and topics. You can post messages, files, images and video and there is integration with services like Twitter, Dropbox and Google Drive.
The founder of Slack is no other than Stewart Butterfield, the guy behind Flickr. He proudly told the media that there have been more than 4 years since he sent his last email to his team. The collaboration app has gone “viral” and is used by more than 130,000 people every day.
Statistics show that it’s proved itself effective for three-person teams, 10-persons teams, and 100-person teams, the founder told The Verge.
Asking questions is a big part of communication and as we share a common purpose to reduce email, we are helping communication, while we round it off with knowledge sharing.
Why do you need knowledge sharing?
The short version of the answer is that it helps you get to the information you need faster. It offers you the chance to learn from your peers and to teach them what you know. Many teams today need cutting-edge skills and information from internal sources, so the best way it to do it is to share your know-how with the team.
That same process of knowledge sharing will help companies keep their employees, as we all know young people are more motivated by learning opportunities rather than money. Every team member wants to know that their contribution matters, therefore collaboration amounts to employee engagement as well.
So why wait? Happy Knowledge Sharing!
Sherri Elliott-Yeary, the Generational Guru and best selling author of Ties to Tattoos, Turning Generational Differences into a Competitive Advantage, is a speaker, coach and trainer in the area of Human Resources and Talent Management. Sherri specializes in helping employers maximize their human capital by collaborating across the generational gap. Her expertise in human capital management and organization includes: workforce planning, company culture, training, assessments, HRIS implementation, regulatory compliance, strategic alignment, payroll, compensation and benefit programs. Learn more at generationalguru.com.