Meetings and emails are two of the most commonly cited productivity killers, by various studies and surveys. Of course, emails and some meetings are essential parts of a workday. One of the biggest problems with meetings is that everyone linked to a project or task is often required to attend, even if the part that is applicable to them only accounts for a fraction of the total meeting time. Many companies have started using collaboration tools to reduce the number of meetings and email.
Why are collaboration tools an attractive alternative?
Stakeholders need to only spend time providing updates and following up on tasks that pertain to their work.
- Provides the flexibility to respond at their convenience. If additional time is required to assess and analyze anything, they are able to provide more valuable feedback.
- Allows the team to get feedback sooner because they do not have to wait for the scheduled meeting.
- Ability to highlight issues by attaching files and images enables to get things clarified better and faster.
There is no doubt both email and meetings are essential and remain important modes of communication. But email has serious disadvantages when used for collaboration.
Why is email not the right tool for collaboration ?
- Does not provide a complete picture in the context of the issue or task.
- Leads to too many back and forth emails that are a constant source of distraction that negatively affects productivity.
- Information is fragmented across team members’ mailboxes, so cannot be searched or accessed easily.
- Since email is not a secure mode of communication, you cannot share sensitive information.
Key benefits of using collaboration tools
- Since all discussions are documented, eliminates the possibility of any valuable information falling through the cracks.
- Since collaboration tools can be accessed from anywhere, anytime on any device, you are always in the loop and on the same page.
- Centralized location helps to keep the entire team’s work organized and accessible. So everyone can find the information they need quickly.
- Increases visibility across the organization to keep everyone informed about various projects. Which leads to more engagement, opportunities to learn, contribute and higher employee satisfaction.
- Awareness and access to subject matter experts to help solve problems and issues faster.
I can attest from our own company’s experience that after we started using our collaboration tool, we have been able to get feedback and review work without sending any emails. We have also been able to significantly cut down on meetings. And the remaining meetings have become much more productive since we use the collaboration tool to discuss all items on the agenda ahead of the meeting to ensure everyone is well prepared.
So if your team or company is spending too many hours on meetings and collaborating via emails, it might be time to evaluate and adopt a collaboration tool.