Why email is not the best solution for communicating with remote teams

 In 2021, it’s likely that remote working is going to continue as the norm. With COVID-19 still in full swing, many of us are required to work from home due to government restrictions, as well as some businesses choosing to move to a remote model in order to cut costs, boost employee flexibility and work with the best global talent.

This could be a great change in how we work. However, one of the main challenges that come with remote working is communication. Naturally, communication is harder when we work remotely, and many businesses are still using email as their main form of communication.

Here’s why that’s not the best option for your business and how to move to a better communication model.

Email isn’t interactive, so messages can be misread

We’ve all been victim to the dreadful situation whereby someone misreads your email and takes it the wrong way. Or, arguably worse, you misread someone’s email and think that they mean something they don’t.

This can cause frustration, confusion, and an overall bad communication style between a team. With every email you send, there is a chance that your recipient might be reading it in a different way, and email isn’t the best format for a constructive conversation. Email lacks interactivity, which can cause mixed messages.

Email can be useful for asynchronicity, but other methods are better 

One of email’s strengths is that it is asynchronous, meaning that people working on different time zones or at different times of day can still work together by leaving each other messages for when they pick back up.

Whilst email is handy for creating an asynchronous workflow, other platforms can be better. For example, using things like GoogleDocs, Dropbox, Slack, Monday, Asana and many more can help to create a workflow that doesn’t stop and start but continuously flows. And isn’t that the point of a workflow?

Email can often confuse the flow of work by creating a private channel

How many times have you thought you’re having an open conversation with a group via email, only to find out that 2 people in the chain have been emailing separately. This causes so much confusion and annoyance and in this sense, email can actually take people away from platforms that help teams.

For example, if you’re using Asana to mark tasks and communicate and then someone on the board says ‘I’ve emailed you privately’, it completely breaks the flow of work and adds coverage to the project instead of clear and open communication. 

It’s hard to track progress with email

Email is often misused to overload people with task lists, without any idea of their actual progress. In this sense, email can be a backward step in that it can offer the illusion of work being done without the visual mark off that work is being completed.

For example, a manager may send 5 emails to their assistant asking them to complete tasks by the end of the day. The junior may not read those emails, may not understand the tasks, or may simply not have time to complete them over the day. Hence, you can end up with a manager who thinks work is being completed, without having any real idea of their team’s progress.

Employees prefer a more real-time platform when working remotely

One of the most compelling reasons to reconsider your relationship with email is that employees don’t like it. In fact, a recent study showed that 60.8% of respondents ignore emails at work whilst nearly half (47.7%) of respondents said receiving fewer emails at work would help to increase their job satisfaction.

One of the best ways to boost morale and improve the remote working culture is by offering another project management and communication method other than emails.

So, are you ready to start working with a remote team effectively? Contact BorderlessMind for more information on how you can build and manage a remote team with ease. Plus, you can read up on our top tips on how to avoid micromanaging your remote team over on our blog.


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