Email banned: Now what?

What are the alternative workplace communication options in a world where email is banned?

Email has become the easy solution for contacting colleagues in the workplace, but it has replaced more traditional methods including face-to-face communication.

The average employee spends 40 per cent of the week dealing with internal emails, according to research by Atos Origin.

Other types of communication and collaboration make up a further 14 per cent of the average working week, with just 39 per cent of the time remaining to accomplish role-specific tasks, it claims. 

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In 2012, McKinsey Global Institute found social media is a much more effective way of communicating. Its study suggested utilising such tools could improve worker productivity by 20 to 25 per cent.

Although that research was carried out at the tail end of 2012, it's even more relevant today. Indeed, companies are migrating their internal communications to social network-like solutions en masse.  

Jeffery Mann, research vice president for collaboration and social software at Gartner, thinks email is a victim of its own success.

"Because it is so ubiquitous, [email] ends up being used for many purposes it is not very good at. The primary resulting issue is one of volume; there is just too much of it, and the means to classify and filter it are generally fairly weak," he says.

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"Email is fine when it is part of the communications and collaboration repertoire. When it is the only tool available, it often gets misused."

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Unison Technologies is just one of the companies trying to move companies away from using email to communicate internally, instead using rooms' to discuss projects and matters instantly. The company provides a standard cloud service that includes customisation options for branding, directory integration and compliance controls.

Most clients are highly distributed or mobile organisations and many are UK-based, although Devidas Desai, the firm's director of product management, couldn't reveal who Unison was working with.

"If your team is distributed across multiple locations and time zones or simply highly mobile, you're often guessing: What's happening right now in one office or another? What's going on with my key deals or projects?" he says.

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