Email banned: Now what?

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

Each one of these is a multi-step process to answer. The further apart you are by distance, time or corporate boundaries, the worse it gets.

Unison answers these questions on a single screen, putting you in control. You instantly know what the latest is, who's where, what they're working on, even who they're talking to. You can lead your team or business or project from your smartphone.

Rooms are private group spaces and the only people who can see and access them are the members. Companies use them to manage projects, ongoing issues, teams and keep up on industry news.

Although banning internal email may be dramatically reducing the amount of time you spend using services such as Gmail and Outlook, both of these also offer IM platforms, allowing you to communicate instantly, in real time.

Microsoft's Lync IM platform (formerly Microsoft Office Communicator) allows you to communicate with fellow employees instantly. Available with the Microsoft Lync Server or through Microsoft Office 365, the suite also enables you to talk over VoIP with workers or host video conferencing - allowing you to cut down on external email too.

If you're already using Gmail, Google Hangouts also allows you to hop on a call with fellow employees or just IM using the service in real time. With a mobile app, you can communicate whether you're in the office or on the move, too.

Despite cutting down on the email being sent through your company, using these solutions should also keep the major email providers happy too.

However, Mann thinks trying to eliminate email completely with solutions like this generates lots of heat, but little value.

"When elimination is the goal, it ends up being distracting. Banning email is not a business goal; it does not create happy customers or better products. Making it the locus of your attention means you aren't focusing on creating value," Mann adds. 

"I think reducing or even eliminating email is a fine result or indicator of success when rolling out social tools or more collaborative ways of working. But the focus needs to be on the value created, not the elimination of an irritant."

Companies must provide better and more efficient ways of communicating, which will inevitably lessen the reliance on email. Social tools, for example, can be great for creating a foundation for new projects so workers can collaborate and ask questions quickly and easily even when they're not in the same room.

"Social displaces some interactions that are inefficient over email, but overall introduces more messages for workers to sift through," according to a study published by analyst firm Forrester Research in October 2013.

But, the report adds, that's not necessarily a bad thing because companies are investing in enterprise social solutions for the additional collaborative interaction it facilitates.

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