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You're Sending Too Much Email
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Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2014 | 4:19:46 PM
Re: If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
@jastroff You're right, getting off email is a top down effort -- I probably didn't emphasize that enough in the column. People hate change, so the boss needs to mandate using socbiz tools. Draw a line in the sand. I applaud the tactic by OpenTable of warning salespeople against sending reports via email and to use Chatter instead.

Your story about your manager printing out emails makes me cringe!
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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11/4/2014 | 4:17:45 PM
Re: If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
Email is pretty much perfect in theory. It just lacks a good standard gating mechanism. I'd be really happy with my inbox if everyone who wanted to contact me had to be whitelisted or pass some anti-spam challenge.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2014 | 1:05:58 PM
Re: If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
Oh the irony. In an effort to wean off email we create more emails about the activities of non-email communication tools! But I do think when a social tool like Yammer works well it becomes part of peoples' work day enough that email alerts are superfluous.

However email is still the place we check most often so sending alerts there for any kind of activity makes sense. I guess it's up to the user to figure out which email alerts are redundant and decrease their frequency or shut em off.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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11/4/2014 | 11:45:06 AM
Re: If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
Then there are the collaboration systems that increase your email input. I can think of three collaboration or project management systems I use, meant to replace email for work requests or announcements, that generate automated alerts of status changes or new posts in my email system. Part of the answer is managing those alerts -- I've dialed one back through settings so it's much better. But some of those email alerts are essential, so I don't have to monitor more than one channel. So I'm not ready to sever those from my email, which remains my central communication console.    
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2014 | 11:33:47 AM
Re: If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
Amen Dave. The OpenTable example is a good argument for reducing email among work teams. I agree that a social collaboration stream at work is yet another comunication channel to manage, and we all have enough to manage. But it's worth it if it curbs the email avalanche, with an upside of improved teamwork/productivity. But like most things it takes a boss to say, "No more emailing of reports. We're using this social tool now. Here's the plan."
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2014 | 11:12:53 AM
Re: Moving on
Yep, email is good for keeping people at arm's length and no-rush communication, both of which are necessary. So there will always be a place for email. But I've seen the dangers of it becoming the only tool in your toolbox, especially among spread out internal teams. Phone and IM are a better line to individuals and social collaboration tools are a better line to group work. As for the outside world, email is still king. But we need to thin the herd (and the inbox!).
David F. Carr
IW Pick
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2014 | 10:55:02 AM
If the boss moves off email, the team moves off email
When I was researchng my Social Collaboration for Dummies book, the most successful example of a socbiz tool replacing email came from OpenTable. The sales manager there told his staff he didn't want to see reports from the field showing up in his email inbox; he wanted to see them in Chatter instead so the whole sales team could see them and learn from them.

Of course, even the members of that team had to switch to email whenever they needed to communicate outside of the organization. That's one of the hurdles to adopting social collaboration tools - instead of one stream of messages, you have to manage two. Really more than two if you count your public social media, your voicemail, text messages, and so on.

So if you're going to cram another communication channel into people's work lives, you need to show them how it is different and how that difference can be valuable. If it's a better way of getting the boss's attention and connecting with your peers, then suddenly it makes all the sense in the world.


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