Everyone's busy, right? The great promise of the latest technologies in business is that they are supposed to save precious time while making our lives much easier, and ourselves more effective. Unfortunately, as we all know, some of the latest-and-greatest technologies actually make things harder for us, and they get in the way of our effectiveness.

Take email, for example. I'm sure I'm not alone in having an email inbox stuffed to the gills with an ever-changing parade of messages--some important, some not so much, and others not at all. While I'm very happy that spam filters seem to be fairly effective nowadays, my inbox seems to do a pretty good job of distracting me and pulling me away from the top priorities I have set for the day.

And that's just trying to do something by myself. If I'm trying to collaborate with others using email, then things can get tangled up fast.

Weekdone.com recently put together this list of the 8 reasons why email is terrible for team collaboration--do any of these sound familiar to you?

1. Wastes a lot of time

According to Weekdone.com, 25 percent of the average workday is spent sending and responding to email messages. Think about your own messages--how many are really important, and how many don't really matter?

2. Group conversations grow out of hand

Unfortunately, many messages get sent out to every member of a team by people who are trying to cover their backsides, and others are simple (and unnecessary) "thanks" or "I got it." Just think of how many hours would be saved by everyone on your team if theses superfluous messages were banished. When Atos banned email within its team of 74,000+ employees, the team's productivity immediately improved.

3. Kills valuable tacit knowledge

On average, we spend 7 minutes on email messages for every 10 minutes we spend actually doing our job. Of course, all this time spent on email means that we have less time available to spend collaborating with coworkers, clients, customers, and others important to the success of our business.

4. Provides no overview

Although we spend many hours sorting through our email messages each day, and allowing them to set our agenda and priorities for us, they don't give us the overview that we so desperately need to see the big picture.

5. Destroys focus

According to Weekdone.com, employees check their email messages an average of 36 times each day. I probably check mine more. The problem is that it can take an average of 16 minutes to get refocused on a task after we check our messages.

6. Lacks in transparency

Because email messages are private between sender and receiver, everyone else on the team is left out of the conversation. This can prevent the transfer of vital information and learning within the team, and cause the organization to fall behind the competition.

7. Brings confusion

While writing an email message can be quick, reading and understanding it takes much longer. In addition, we miss the verbal and nonverbal language cues that impart much of the information we communicate.

8. It's anti-social

Sending an email message is by its very nature an anti-social activity. Pick up your phone to talk with a member of your team, or get on Skype or walk over to their office. Your conversation will be much richer as a result, and your outcomes better.


Published on: Dec 24, 2014