Changes in Office Communication: Is Email Evolving?

Since the birth of the digital economy, email has risen in popularity as the dominant communication line in the workplace. Sending files back and forth to co-workers, passing on chain mail, arranging meetings, and discussing business ideas through email has made it a useful and resourceful way to maintain internal communications. However, with Generation Y now flooding the workplace new means of communication are arising and email is beginning to take a back seat. 

Generation Y, aka the Millennial Generation, were born roughly between 1982 and 1993 and it’s estimated that by 2025 they’ll dominate 75% of the workforce. This young, tech-savvy generation is bringing innovation to internal office communication like instant messaging, chat tools, social media channels, and file sharing platforms, email’s significance is changing.

According to IDC research, email consumes around 14.5 hours per worker per week. Looking at this relative to salary, if an average worker makes $60,000/year then a whopping $21,752 alone is spent in the time taken to read and analyze emails. As a result, companies are looking for additional solutions to manage their workload and to communicate with their team so that the workforce’s time and effort are channelled in a more productive way.

Gen Y’s presence on social networking sites has also introduced them as a source of communication for the office workplace. Created by one of their own, sites like Facebook and Twitter have changed the world as we know it by translating the lives of its users onto a computer screen. A Pew Research study recently found that an enormous 75% of Gen Y has a profile on a social networking site! Today, companies not only utilize social networking sites in the realm of marketing, but they also effectively integrate personal profiles, activity feeds, and status updates into business tools.

Gen Y’ers like these different approaches to communication because they want to be flexible workers and they strive to maintain a work-life balance. With wireless technology, a laptop, and a mobile phone, they can move from space to space and hardware isn't an inhibitor. IM, social media sites and cloud-enabled file sharing platforms only facilitate their ambition to work on the go through their personal devices. 

Mahesh Gupta, vice-president at Cisco India and Saarc, agrees with our view on the changing uses of email: “Email is not the only communication tool anymore. Now, there is IM, chat, video conferencing and the like. Gen Y employees want social media tools at workplaces because of the effectiveness they provide. Communication happens on the go through new mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs.”

We think Microsoft hit the nail on the head when they said that "work is a thing you do, not a place you go". A system that allows communication with coworkers anytime, anywhere, only emphasizes this statement further.

As technology continues to develop, communication in the office will change. One day we foresee a 3D holographic meeting room, with James Bond type gizmos and touchscreen laptop tables; however, until this time comes IM, social networking sites, and cloud-enabled file sharing platforms are the present and future of internal communications in the workplace. At the same time, although its purpose may have changed, the email will still be a part of the communications network because it is a familiar communication line that is already established within companies. 

Here at Workshare, we listen to the problems that arise in the workplace and structure our service to accommodate workforce needs. We’re particularly interested in how cloud services can ease secure collaboration online for small and large businesses as well as how workers can achieve the mobile lifestyle they want. Our platform allows you to share, store, review files and maintain version control as well as communicate instantly with your colleagues securely no matter where you are or what device you are using.

The innovation Gen Y has brought to businesses has streamlined communication while improving efficiency and productivity. The next step is now for organizations to make sure they implement this technology properly!

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