How to Cut Down on Time Spent Answering Emails
May 28, 2021
Nobody likes spending time organizing their email inboxes. “Email is one of the tasks people complain about most,” says Cal Newport, author of A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload. “But the problem may not be the tool but with how we’re using it.”
“Part of the problem is that people check email too much. Working this way is missing value. Who decided email was the best way to work?” he adds.
It’s not unusual to see managers who spend entire days reading and responding to emails. Simple, efficient, and allowing for wide-ranging communication, email does have its advantages in a business context.
While emails can cut down on unproductive meetings, there is, unfortunately, a flip side. Email’s lack of depth and emotional feedback, slowness, intrusiveness, and tendency to be ignored are just a few ways that it complicates communication at a business.
So, what are
we supposed to do? Get rid of email altogether?
So, what are we supposed to do? Get rid of email altogether?
It’s unrealistic to suggest we totally stop using email. So instead, let’s look at some solutions offered by Microsoft to reduce the problems generated by email and optimize company-wide communications.
Microsoft Power Automate
You might be surprised to see Power Automate at the top of this list. But this application can automatize many daily tasks, which in turn lightens your inbox.
Take, for example, what happens when a company receives an order by email. First, the sales team forwards the email to accounting and the production team, who send it to logistics (while copying other departments, of course). Then, quality and delivery departments have to be looped in too. As you see, a single order involves a lot of people and a lot of emails!
Microsoft Power Automate automates the entire process from receipt of the purchase order to delivery, including data entry. As a result, emails are limited to the bare minimum—which also means that fewer errors and misunderstandings are likely to occur.
As a part of Microsoft 365, Power Automate is a practical solution for transforming manual data entry and calculations into an automated system. It’s simple, effective, and reduces the number of emails exchanged to the fewest required!
Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool to promote collaboration in the workplace. Functioning somewhat like a corporate social network, the application lets team members chat, videoconference, collaborate simultaneously on documents, and more! These features optimize a huge range of processes at your organization, allowing for richer, more creative discussions—and, of course, drastically cutting down on emails.
Have you ever replied to an email at the same time as a colleague? It’s a sure-fire way for a simple topic to get totally confused! With Microsoft Teams’ intuitive interface, exchanges appear in a discussion format, ensuring the thread of conversation doesn’t get tangled.
Moreover, you can say goodbye to sending multiple versions of the same document back and forth. Instead, create a Teams workgroup so all the right people can securely access a document and even work on it simultaneously.
Microsoft Sharepoint lets your team create, share, manage, and store content on private or public websites. It aims to increase company-wide cohesion using a corporate intranet, giving each department access to the information that matters. And just like Teams, Sharepoint stores files in the Cloud, allowing real-time collaboration on the same document.
Within Sharepoint, you can set up alerts for document validation and use the metadata system to easily store and find shared documents, thus avoiding pestering your colleagues with emails.
Microsoft Planner & Microsoft To Do
Many people use their email inboxes like an agenda, filling them with notes, to-do lists, follow-ups, and task delegation memos. They even might keep their inbox open on their desktop and refer to it multiple times an hour!
Instead, manage all your team tasks with Microsoft Planner or To Do scheduling apps. Say goodbye to follow-up and task assignment emails. Instead, you’ll build Kanban boards, add content-rich briefs, get real-time visual statuses, and plan projects using tools that integrate seamlessly with the Office suite. You can even convert an email into a task with a single click, instantly fitting it into your calendar as a to-do!
The way we work has undergone drastic changes in recent years. Increasingly, the Modern Workplace is becoming the new standard for employment in any industry. This new work reality breaks down communication and data access barriers by keeping everyone connected to the Cloud. Now, team members can easily access critical data and make decisions from anywhere on any device.
This modern workstyle challenges traditional tools such as email, forcing us to adopt new strategies. Have you ever heard of No Meeting Days, Focus Time, or GSD? These terms all have a common goal that will be explored in our next article: “No Meeting Day, a new work philosophy at Kezber.”
Until then, don’t hesitate to contact one of our advisors! They’ll direct you to the best Microsoft applications available that reduce the number of daily emails you receive and thus increase your performance at work!
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