Why Email Doesn’t Cut It As a Collaboration ToolBe honest: How long do you usually let an issue bounce back and forth in emails unresolved? Three emails? Four emails? A hundred emails? When collaborating, you might find speedier resolutions to issues through instant messaging. For important, urgent matters, perhaps you should pick up the phone and talk with an actual person.
Yes, it’s time to stop relying on email alone and start using the right collaboration tools for your company to save money and increase productivity. “But wait a minute,” you might be saying, “What’s so bad about using email for collaboration?” It boils down to stopping the flow and lost information. Here are some examples.
- Email disrupts the natural flow of collaboration: If the team is collaborating from different locations, there’s information passed back and forth. Work stops while you attach that information to an email and send it.
- Collaborative work usually gets lost in email: Without considerable care, much of the back-and-forth in email can be overlooked. Changes to the text or an attached document might not be evident unless you highlight them in some fashion.
Getting businesses to break their email habit is a big challenge, but it starts with thinking about how to have people collaborate without leaving their native work platform. First, think about how people are actually collaborating in your business. The goal is to let them work in a way that suits them best and to not construct artificial processes. Small businesses should then look for the tool or service that works best for their unique environment and workflow.
As you look for the right collaboration tools, don’t try to fit your company into the structure of an application or service. There are many collaboration tools with lots of bells and whistles out there. If you start by feature-hunting, you’ll likely find the collaboration tool doesn’t fit your company’s specific needs.
To find the right tools, be prepared to experiment, but you shouldn’t have to pay a dime. There are plenty of “freemium” and shareware collaboration tools to choose from. As you’re trying out collaboration technology, experiment with something that’s low pressure rather than a mission-critical project.
In the end, collaborating over email lacks a logical flow, and you end up backtracking, which carries time-based costs. The goal is to get people into a collaboration space and then let them work without interruption. Deciding which collaboration tools to use depends on your business, but there are many to choose from. Finding the right one can save your company money and time.
Have you found that collaboration tools boost productivity and save money at your business? Share your experiences and advice below!
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