October 27, 2015
Most of us still work in environments where email is king, but several workplace shifts are driving a transformation in business collaboration as we know it—including the rise of today’s remote workforce. This phenomenon is increasing the need for team communication tools that fit the unique workstyles of people on the go. From mobile apps to wearables, companies are recognizing the importance of providing solutions that let us work anytime and from anywhere, versus expecting us to adjust our work habits to fit legacy technologies.
In parallel, people have stopped thinking about mobile as just a “device,” a specific piece of hardware, or even a set of small screen experiences. It’s simply one of the many contexts in which we do our work every day. As mobile-first consumer experiences bleed into the professional world, why shouldn’t we expect business applications to deliver the same levels of efficiency and instant gratification? Organizations are starting to shift their focus toward new purpose-built applications that solve very specific challenges like team messaging, calendaring or task management in order to help colleagues work better together via any channel.
A Psychological Shift is Shaking Things Up
Given all the ways our workplaces are evolving, it’s no surprise that workers are experiencing a shift in how they think about office productivity tools. For example, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to open my email inbox. Most days, I’m so overloaded with emails that it is nearly impossible to find the things that actually need my attention. My inbox is basically a dumping ground for sales pitches and annoying, irrelevant messages.
That’s because people are increasingly using emails (and the cc: line) as a crutch or a CYA, rather than as a true medium for collaborative communication. When email makes us feel overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s all too easy to subconsciously avoid our cluttered inboxes. If companies want to keep work flowing and make decision-making more efficient, something’s gotta give.
With new enterprise messaging apps, workplace communication actually feels fun (unlike the dreaded email inbox). People tend to engage more deeply and respond quickly to incoming messages rather than letting the notifications pile up. Simple apps that cater more to personal workstyles don’t carry the same psychological baggage as email, so when we get pinged by a colleague, we trust it’s for a good reason and worth our time to reply. Having one-on-one or small group conversations in this context is enjoyable because we can exchange interesting thoughts or ideas in the moment, on the fly—making the workday significantly more productive.
The Time To Transform Workplace Communications Is Now
Email has been misused and abused for too long, and as a result employees are turning to all kinds of disparate platforms and channels to improve the flow of communications. But to empower today’s workers, companies need to give us more seamless ways to stay connected, no matter where our work takes us.
When running late for a meeting, we don’t want to shoot off a quick email and blindly hope our coworkers notice it. And when trying to remember that key nugget of information a colleague shared, no one wants to waste precious time piecing together conversation fragments from text messages, emails, or desktop IMs.
What’s needed is a single, streamlined place where employees can see who’s online and manage all of their work-related conversations across devices while on the go. Today’s employees require solutions that make collaboration easy and enjoyable, whether we’re in the office, working from home, or en route to an event. Thankfully, a new generation of intuitive, purpose-built, secure team communications solutions is flourishing. The digital workplace of the future is coming, and organizations that want to attract and retain the best talent should stop relying on email and instead embrace specialized apps that break through all the clutter to make people’s work more efficient and productive than ever before.
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