In business circles, e-mails are the virtual communication tool for any modern business enterprise. Despite its great number of advantages, handling a piling inbox or sorting out the client mails on priority basis is a time consuming task for employees. While one cannot choose to ignore any mails coming your way, what's the best way to fit into this pressure pit in an optimal manner?
We decided to fall back on some ongoing research in this regard to find a workable solution. The wide ranging research by various teams across the globe has come up with quite some useful insights:
1. Keep The Language Simple
The research team at Carnegie Mellon attempted to study behaviorial pattern of people attenting to incoming mails. The most answered mails were those requesting information and social messages. The trick was the simple language used by the clients to communicate. The logic is quite easy to figure out. The easier a email is worded, the more is the attention span of the reader and the response time is likely to be more. Complex mails tend to be sidelined or pushed over due to sheer incomprehension.
2. Emails and Productivity
Can you imagine that emails actually inhibit employee productivity? Wondering how? A study by Loughborough University, U.K, claims that employees are constantly interrupted by mails during work hours. On an average, a worker gets emails in every 5 minutes, disrupting the flow of work. So what can be done here?
The ready solution is to have a fixed interval of checking mails, say once in 30 to 45 mins, avoid CC-ing too many people on a single mail and try to filter client emails on priority basis.
3. Email Charter
A curator at the TED conference - Chris Anderson, came up with a email charter to curb the overflowing inbox. The 10-point Charter states "The first and fundamental principle of the charter is the onus falls on the sender to ensure the email takes the least possible amount of time to process, even if that means taking more time before sending." Moreover avoiding replies to petty comments like "great" or "awesome" saves email chain building.
4. Email Is Still The Favorite
The research team from FX Pao Alto Laboratory figured in their analysis that workplaces, especially small enterprises prefer emails as the most important communication tool. Face-to-face was a close second. The most apparent reason for the popularity of the mail is that it acts as written record of the buyer-seller interaction. Added to this, another study shows that emails are the most prefered modicum among technical workers and IT professionals as processing information was easy.
5. Email Training
It comes as no surprise from this German study that email literacy is a matter of concern for many enterprises and employees alike. While for the former it is an added investment cost to train the employees in key areas like answering techniques and general handling of the incoming mails, for the latter emails are an overwhelming experience since many of them are of unambigious nature.
6. Gossiping Through Emails
Employee gossip is an inevitable part of any organisation. In a study of emails of Enron employees, a research team at Georgia Institute of Technology figured that employees discussed daily social processes, happenings as well as formal business dealings like a court filing amongst each other. While the inter group understandings improve with such communications, however, it does prove a negative to productivity scales at workplace.
The above stated insights are interesting to gauge the indelible emails patterns in our work cultures. Coming back to the question of is email ecology actually undergoing a metamorphosis, the pointers do answer a part of the enquiry. However, the digital age that we live in, there are always constant emerging sources of viable communication. Emails in such a scenario almost becomes a old school thought. Currently, a host of apps, instant messaging, blogs, social media networks are simaltanously filling the boots of the once staple emails.
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