Ah, emails. (Read: yuck, emails.) You check them when you wake up and you reply to them before you go to bed. But do you have to?
Emails make employees dependent on work for the sake of work. It makes people look busy and what’s more it makes them feel like they achieve something once everything is sent (and for your sake, you need to escape this line of thinking.)
Here at Mäd, emails inspire feelings of loathing and dark lessons learned. Our Team Handbook‘s email guidelines are mostly reasons on why/how not to use it.
If the authorship’s bias isn’t already clear, we hate emails. And we’d love to bring you to the dark side.
Your time costs money. Money that you probably don’t have. Think about the time you’d take to set up your email, your team’s email and gathering all client emails to put into your database.
These are some of the things that you need to put in an email to make it look “professional:”
- Setup — Emails take a lot to set up. From your name, security, privacy, you need to squeeze in plenty of info. This is just the easy part.
- Email signature — Of course, following your company logo, brand guidelines and optimized images. Oh, it has to look good too, lest ye be judged.
- Greeting messages — Whether it is a client, a superior, someone in your department, your greeting messages will be different. You will spend time needlessly to craft a perfect opening message before you get to the crux of things. Maybe you’ll even ask your colleagues to spend time on it too.
How many emails must be exchanged before emojis can be used?
The world may never know.
- Subjects — They’re important aren’t they? We would agree. But a poorly written subject will only confuse everyone and be impossible to search for later. No pressure.
- Who is it for? — That email you’re writing about the customer enquiry, that should be addressed to the IT guy, but maybe you should CC the supervisor, the head of department, and maybe the CEO so he knows what’s going on a micro level. I’m sure all of these people are going to be grateful for your email. At the very least, they’ll appreciate your signature.
- Oh, the LANGUAGE — We’re not talking Japanese or Indonesian, but whether you will write in a casual professional tone with Jeff from Marketing, or you’re writing professional professional to Mr. Smith, the CEO. Not to mention everyone cc’d.
Can you feel the stress yet? We are only cracking the hypothetical ice here. Let’s continue.
Spams, important emails, newsletters, they’re all in your inbox. If you’re time-efficient, then you probably set up rules where spams are filtered, important messages are flagged and backlog of messages are Boomeranged to the top at a later date. But be honest, more people will choose to burn several minutes a day sorting through junk for the rest of their lives than spend 20 minutes setting up this system. Bleak, but true.
Our preliminary research revealed that professionals from various industries do not have a system to keep themselves organized. Unsurprisingly, email is the most prominent, if not the only tool they are using.
However, as you know, the confusion goes deeper than just the look of your inbox.
Ever seen these e-mail subjects?
- RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Customer Enquiry #322357
- FWD: FWD: FWD: How to bake cookies the right way.
When you open the email, then where will it take you, to the latest messages? Yes, but plenty of times, the actual content of the email, especially forwarded emails, are below the iceberg someplace. You’ll have to scrounge through previous messages, scrolling through poorly loaded email signatures, before convincing yourself that you understand the gist of the message.
Don’t kid yourself. You’re confused. You’ve been confused for a very long time.
Now imagine going through this behemoth email chain on your mobile phone. Sounds familiar? We’re not surprised.
We have to mention this. In fact, since we’ve evolved past the behemoth, we might relish in touting the obvious.
The number of communication channels between team members increases exponentially as the number of team members increase.
We’re not even mentioning how one person may communicate to another. Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat, project management software, face to face, meeting minutes, whiteboard, letters, and then EMAILS?
Obviously, email is just adding to the communication clutter. Which is fine if you’re here to look busy, but if you want to spend your time getting shit done, it’s time to cut out what isn’t working.
We could go on all day bashing emails, which would be fine since we’ve saved so much time not using it.
Strip it back to the bare basics. The purpose of email is communication, whether from one person to another, or to a group of people. The message is the core of it.
We admit to using emails, to email our awesome clients or communicate with prospective employees. However, we try to avoid emails as much as possible which minimizes noise and makes us feel pretty good about ourselves. Here’s why:
- People who check their emails less are more productive
- You will need on average, 64 seconds to recover your full attention after you read an email
- People to tend to lie more in emails
- Emails take up a quarter of your working day
It is then important to find alternatives for emails. As we onboard our clients and our team to Blue, it becomes the sole source of truth. Revisit our mantra:
If it’s not on Blue, it doesn’t exist.
When you can see tasks that are carefully structured, assigned to people responsible for them, and those who are involved, then it is black and white to see where the team is at.
Blue is made not only to curtail email, that will be missing the point. We made Blue to solve our own problem. We want to reduce communication channels between team members, simplify work and make work enjoyable for everybody.
Email fatigue is real and sapping your precious resource: your attention. Don’t read this and go back to that life. Re-claim your time and make changes that benefit you, your team, and your clients.