Forget email - Sharing files online increases productivity

Forget email, the next generation certainly has

Another trend from our social lives is spilling over into the workplace – the move away from email.

For a long time now, people at work have felt that email is the bane of their lives. Despite a few changes here and there to the user experience, email remains tough to organize, a bit shouty and just an uncontrollable torrent of information (much of which is arguably useless to the recipient thanks to cc’ing and replying to all). The Harvard Business school refers to the phenomenon as “knowledge pollution”.

The next generation certainly hasn’t bought into email. According to ongoing research carried out by PewInternet.org, “…63% of all teens say they exchange text messages every day with people in their lives. This far surpasses the frequency with which they pick other forms of daily communication, including…emailing (6%).”

Universal edit and review

Increasingly, there’s a move away from email as a form of communication and a way to collaborate on documents at work.

Email is simply not dynamic enough to take a document from first draft to final version efficiently between two people, let alone a large group of stakeholders. The document owner could spend hours collating input, waiting for feedback and assembling their final fully executed result.

Then there’s the issue of security. Email isn’t a secure means of file sharing. There are numerous examples of employees within regulated industries emailing themselves sensitive or client-privileged information (probably just to work on it from home), but essentially putting that information at risk. There are other notable examples of errors on a colossal scale, which can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the Ponemon Institute, “…data breaches caused by human error cost companies on average $117 per compromised record”.

Whereas a full-service secure file sharing platform (i.e. with document comparison, metadata cleaning, online/offline access) enables a universal edit and review process to take place fast and efficiently.

Creating convenience

There’s no doubt it’s easy to “send a quick email”, but it’s not really a safe or convenient way to talk to colleagues or carry out document collaboration and review. People need a review to be structured, otherwise it gets confusing pretty quickly. They need the ability to work offline, or to work in real-time with different groups (without someone accidentally dropping off or being added to the distribution list). Most of all, it’s not convenient to deal with an average of 500 emails a day dropping into an inbox, all of which need to be read, filed, actioned or deleted.

So, what’s the answer?

The speed, security and convenience of online file sharing, of course.

The best solutions have document comparison in the DNA. They include the ability to comment and edit files online or offline for real-time working. And, they can (if you love email that much) send alerts via Outlook to notify when changes have been made. They also make it easy to hold a conversation on a particular topic or document, meaning you don’t have to wait for someone to sift through their email, spot your important document update, open the attachment, hopefully track their changes, re-save it (with a new name, of course), re-attach it and send it back.

Apart from the fact that dynamic file sharing reduces the amount of time you spend in your inbox (and that’s what all our kids will be doing in the future), the real advantages of online file sharing are that you can have a solution for communication and collaborative working that makes you more productive. It’s a platform you control, rather than being one that controls you.