Until recent times, the telephone was one of the primary means of communicating in the office. As technology progressed, office communication began evolving to include the use of fax and e-mails. Originally intended to keep employees in constant (written) communication, e-mail is now being blamed for hindering worker productivity.
As a result of this paradox, some employees have initiated their own ban on e-mail at work – preferring to use instant messaging and online chats instead for internal and external communication. Some CEOs are even going so as far as proclaiming an imminent ban on emails and decreeing that its employees exclusively use social media tools (and the telephone!) for intra-office communications. While this may appear harsh, employers strongly feel that an abundance of e-mails tend to detract a worker’s focus from the job at hand.
This trend of eliminating e-mails is further supported by the influx of new, young employees to the workforce, who use nothing but social media tools to communicate. In fact, only about 11% of the younger generation even uses e-mails. For them, chatting is a faster, more seamless way of communicating. Besides, the very essence of social media tools actually fosters collaboration – which is so necessary in today’s fluid work environment.
Although e-mail is admittedly not the best collaborative tool, it may be a bit premature to completely do away with this integral method of communication. With the technological advances nowadays making it easier to adopt different tools for communicating, it seems that in this particular case the user is more at fault than the actual technology. While social media tools can certainly foster a more collaborative team effort, they can also eat up a lot of the user’s time (vaguely similar to the e-mail paradox). In any event, there is something to be said about keeping this conservative electronic paper trail which can still be quite effective when used correctly.