Well, no lions or tigers, but certainly lots of these:
This week’s blog post is a summary of the discussion article regarding the issues of the email phenomena. Our very own professor Jerry Kane interviewed Phil Simon to get his thoughts on society’s over-reliance on this one form of communication and to see whether he had any ideas on how we can break from this stranglehold.
His quick summary was:
1. Email is not bad if used properly. The problem is no one uses it how it was intended and instead uses it as a “catch-all” for essentially conducting one’s life. Instead of being a quicker way to respond to potentially greater than one person, it is now used for personal and business communication, project management, and task management. Or as this chart additionally shows:
2. The percentage of the work day that email consumes is staggering, and growing! The current data shows we receive an email every four minutes and that we spend 14 hours per week just responding and sending emails. The best part: this number is growing at 15% per year!!
3. There are more efficient programs than email to solve our everyday business problems and break our reliance. Scheduling programs like Doodle and Calendar.ly and task management programs like Slack and Hipchat exist to make the day-to-day activities more user friendly. Which method would you prefer??
4. Why don’t people leave email? We can’t now! We are too deep as a society! We like seeing new emails in our inbox because it confers status. And we just don’t have a better option and are too resistant and lazy to change.
The class discussion was actually pretty interesting given the great divide between those who have been in the working world and those still in undergrad. I feel the working folk snickered at this article since we are knee-deep, maybe neck-deep, in this phenomena and there is no way to get out. The business world is so intertwined inter-company and intra-company that we couldn’t even “go off the grid” if we wanted, lest we want to be fired. And those students who haven’t been indoctrinated…well..ignorance is bliss. A few group project email threads and you think you understand, but that is just the tip of the iceberg!
The good news is that as business continues to evolve, there will be new changes. From the yesteryears of no internet, when old-fashioned phones and fax machines dominated, to present when email dominates, perhaps in the future a new and more efficient form of communication will take the torch. Whether it is through wearable technology and people having fewer characters to get their message sent (no one wants to read a soliloquy on their iWatch), to the increase of webinars, Skype, and GoToMeeting, to the further evolution of remote conference and virtual reality, who knows where we will be in 10-20 years. So while executives may be old-fashioned, resistant to change, and technology-grumpy, bottom-line and maximizing shareholder wealth always win in the end and managers will force change if it is in the best interests of their company in the long run.