#TChat Recap: Finding Email Productivity At Work

Finding Email Productivity At Work

Being productive is an admirable feat. Finding email productivity while at work is just as admirable nowadays. While there’s always plenty of office activity taking place during the course of a day, we often find ourselves limiting our productivity with unnecessary processes that cluster our time and effectiveness. When emailing first made its appearance we were all excited by this communication tool. We saw endless possibilities of how we could improve our communication and workplace efficiency. Now, email has been around for over 30 years and the excitement it once brought seems to be fading softly away. But as always, there’s still hope for eliminating or reducing the clutter that constant email bombardment has created for us. This week, our community was joined by: Marsha Egan, CEO of The Egan Group, and a leading authority on email productivity, who taught us that email toxicity doesn’t have to blacken our workdays.

As #TChat’s discussion progressed we began to understand that emails trigger a very important and common effect within us all. We are reliant on technology because we rely on information. Understanding why emails cluster our workdays is simple.

Information is everything. Whether it’s reading a quick text message from a friend or interrupting data, we place a high-level of importance and urgency on information. Information is what makes the world tick and it’s what makes us tick. But because there is so much information flying around, we have to think carefully and process it all to monitor how we communicate, especially with how we write and send emails. It is recommended that we:

Sometimes, less is better and easier to grasp. Being specific and transparent is everything in the world of social media. Well, this same concept applies when writing emails now. Treat an email as if it were a tweet. Obviously your message will require a little more content than 140 characters, but it’s important you communicate the importance of your message and its urgency. Remember, that’s why we still have office phones. But when it comes to improving our email communication then let’s start with a couple of simple steps.

Managing email productivity is also about managing the time we spend sorting through emails. Time management begins with creating a schedule. Same idea applies when managing your email inbox, except you should think about other variables involved. Find the time to:

At the end of the day, email productivity is about communication and managing the entire process. It’s not about trying to create more work or complicate office processes. Emailing has to transcend to a much simpler form of communication. Email is a communication tool and not a collaboration tool. We mustn’t mistake the two and treat emails as a be-all and end-all tool. Email was created to enhance communication and make it easier for us to work. It can still accomplish this when we manage the kind of information we’re sending out and its level of output. Remember, less cluster in our emails means getting our productivity back.

Checkout Our Insights On Email Productivity From #TChat!

What’s Up Next? #TChat Events Kicks Off On Wednesday, Nov. 12th!


We’ll be discussing How Global Megatrends Are Impacting Engagement Strategies during our Social Hour on #TChat with our guest host: Mark Royal, Senior Principal at Hay Group who organizations design and implementation of employee engagement strategies.

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly live broadcast runs 30 minutes. Usually, #TChat-ters listen in and engage with our community on Twitter during this time. Checkout this week’s BlogTalkRadio show preview here: How Global Megatrends Are Impacting Engagement Strategies.

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET/ 4pm PT — Our Social Hour midpoint begins and ends with our highly engaging 30 minute Twitter discussion. During this time, we’ll take a deep social dive about our weekly topic by asking 3 thought adrenalizing questions. So join in on the fun during #TChat and share some of your brain power with us (or tweet us @TalentCulture).

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The Link Between Technology And Retention

We do all we can to influence retention, or at least, we think we do. We measure engagement, we carry out exit interviews, we even have performance management programs. But in today’s technology-led world, are we missing a trick in the workplace? Is our talent leaving us because the competition is using better technology in-house? Is our talent leaving in frustration at our inability to keep up with the times?

Quite possibly.

The Link Between Home and the Workplace

Talk to anyone in IT at the moment, and BYOD is more than just an acronym, it’s enough to keep them awake at night. Bring Your Own Device is a nightmare in itself, for which any number of solutions are available (headache tablets, perhaps).

However, its growth reflects a growing frustration with workplace technology. Why is half the company using personal iPads for 20 minutes before they work on their laptops?

Because the laptops take 20 minutes to start up. iPads take 20 milliseconds.

That’s the situation I’ve encountered in two organizations recently. Technology brought in from home was being used for work purposes, because the work technology was either dated or overly restrictive.

As an employer, you have to face up to the fact that technology has become infinitely more simple than it ever used to be. It’s quicker and more adaptive, and yet workplace technology has hardly kept pace.

If you’re the kid in the playground with dad’s chunky old Nokia from the late ’90s, then nobody’s going to talk to you. Therefore, there’s a business case for investing in better technology — and that business case includes employee retention.

Helping Your People Succeed

Everyone wants to succeed. Earning money meets one of Maslow’s needs, but the satisfaction of succeeding at work is one of the key elements that keeps our talent in place.

If we’re failing our own talent with outdated technology, we’re failing the business, and we’re losing our talent.

As an example, four years ago, I visited the headquarters of one of the UK’s largest banks. The company was unable to use most cloud-based solutions of the time due to their inability to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6. Most of the employees had already accepted that they were never going to move beyond IE6 (which was unsupported), and there was a general feeling of having “given up” on the technology that was meant to support them.

Within that business, I spoke to members of the sales team who were unable to properly manage their pipeline due to old technology not supporting the solutions they had brought in. There are hundreds of ways to use technology to help sales teams (we won’t go into them here), and this is potentially the opportunity for HR to talk technology with sales directors, armed with a bit of knowledge about how an investment in better technology will have an impact on the bottom line in more ways than they had previously thought.

The fear of losing a top salesperson because they feel they aren’t reaching their potential might be enough to secure better technology, and therefore, improve retention.

Improving Communication

“What do you mean you didn’t get the email? Have you checked your junk folder?”

Despite our proliferation of communication methods, we are terrible at communicating. An over-reliance on email systems can lead to frustration at work, with some people flooded with emails and others ignoring them completely.

However, at home (or on mobile), we’re particularly good at communicating. We use social networks and we’ve already segmented our friends into different networks – family on Facebook, colleagues on LinkedIn, people we don’t know on Twitter…

There’s a lot to learn, and this can reduce some of the tension and friction that often arises from poor email communication in a business. Whether it’s instant messaging, social collaboration or simply telling people to turn their emails off for a day (I’ve seen it happen, although I haven’t seen it work), it’s our responsibility to lead this conversation.

People leave businesses for many reasons – we need to dig into those reasons through exit interviews, but we need to pre-empt people’s frustrations and help them improve the way they work. To provide a more satisfying, rewarding environment in which people can prosper, we need to start mirroring the way people use technology at home.

That involves providing better, quicker technology – and yes, we have to work through the security issues that inevitably arise; that’s not impossible.

That involves providing more supporting technology; whether you’re in sales or marketing, you need to give people the tools they need in order to succeed. If you’re not doing it, your competition might be, and it’s a great recruitment tool to say that you’ve adopted the latest technology.

That involves harnessing the latest communication tools in order to help people collaborate better within your business.

And if you can put a dollars and cents figure against a 2% improvement in employee retention, you can weigh it up against the investment in said technologies. And that’s not just a conversation worth having, it’s a conversation worth leading.

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