#NOEMAIL – social tools versus email: which is more productive?

Charlotte Nicol
Last updated on 9th April 2020
2 min read

According to the Wrike Digital Work Report 2016, UK workplaces are not as technologically progressive as you might think. Although they’re using more IT tools than ever before, the reluctant uptake on business apps actually leaves the UK trailing behind its European counterparts in this area.

Compared to its main competitors, only 46 percent of UK workers reported an increase in tools used, against 71 percent and 60 percent in France and Germany respectively. Does this mean that we’re falling behind in terms of employee productivity?

According to those involved in the #noemail ‘movement’, that’s exactly what it signifies. Pioneered by activists Claire Burge and Luis Suarez, the movement suggests that email is no longer the most efficient business tool in the box and that we should be enabling and embracing different mediums to remedy this.

Digital technology: an angel of enlightenment or the devil in disguise?

Burge and Suarez showcase only one side of the debate, with not everyone believing that new digital technologies are as helpful as their supporters might argue. A strong correlation was found between greater app usage and increased stress levels, with 68% of users that increased app usage also reporting a rise in related stress. Only 10 percent of people reported a decrease in stress levels.

Despite this, it inarguably has benefits too, with 50 percent of UK respondents agreeing that digital technologies helped them in performing tasks, making their jobs easier and more efficient overall. These statistics were similarly positive in France and Germany, at 77 percent and 64 percent respectively. This suggests something important: increased stress is more to do with a period of change than the apps themselves.

The research also illustrated that employee productivity had risen over the past year, by 53 percent in France, 47 percent in Germany, and 26 in the UK. With these figures directly correlating with the degree of app adoption in each country, it raises some interesting questions as to whether continuing to use email as a primary method of communication is really beneficial for UK businesses.

The dangers of unquestionably embracing email

The alternative to the adoption of such social HR tools is to continue using email as the primary go-to, but one could argue that this is less than ideal. Email is actually reported to be one of the biggest causes of workplace stress and was said by 37 percent of UK respondents to have limited their productivity.

Ranking only a little below email as stress catalysts were ineffective meetings, too many tasks, and too much admin, all of which could arguably be remedied by the adoption of social tools in place of the bemoaned email.

So isn’t it about time that social superseded it? Why not push aside ballooning inboxes, hard-to-interpret email tones, and ‘send to all’ messages that almost nobody needs to see. This is exactly what the movement we mentioned earlier encourages.

People like Suarez and Burge believe that by significantly reducing our use of email and turning to social tools instead, we can boost our productivity and reduce workplace stress. The idea is that by identifying tools that everybody is happy and comfortable with using, you can re-evaluate your bad habits, increase efficiency, and do a better job of doing your job.

So, whether it’s through Google Hangouts, Asana, WhatsApp, Huddle, Podio, or Viber, consider giving it a try – after all, the statistics speak for themselves. Get ahead of the game and re-energize your enterprise today.

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