Delete all: could giving up email boost your business?

Delete all: could giving up email boost your business?

Delete all: could giving up email boost your business?

Matt O’Hara, CEO of Oak Flats Bowling Club and the Illawarra Yacht Club, has given up on his work email and convinced his employees to do the same, with a shift back to phone calls and face-to-face conversations. Since the switch, his working life has improved greatly, News Ltd reported.

O’Hara stated that he used to spend 25 hours a week dealing with emails, and he has reduced that to 45 minutes a fortnight. He feels most of the emailing he was doing was not necessary, and he could have been more productive.

"You just think you're doing business ... but I found that two-thirds of my inbox came from three people and I shared an office block with all of them,” he stated.

With emails taken out of the equation, O’Hara’s staff spent more time dealing with customers, and were also more likely to go home on time, something he finds very important.

"At the end of the day, we don't sit on our death bed and say: 'I should have spent more time at the office',” he explained. Leaving work on time every day means O’Hara is able to spend more time with his family, which he values greatly.

For productivity, the dropping of emails forced employees to make phone calls instead – with five minute chats replaced hour-long back-and-forths.

For many, emails in the workplace seems like a given, but abstaining from them isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Bud Selig, commissioner of Major League Baseball, previously stated he has never sent an email, and doesn’t plan on ever doing so.

Selig is joined by a number of other high-ranking CEOs, News Ltd reported.

Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, banned emails in the workplace in 2011, stating that they were unable to “replace the spoken word”.

While this trend of abstaining from email might not spell the end of the communication platform, a definite shift towards alternate means of electronic communication is on its way. A study from Gartner predicted that 2015 will see 30% of organisations use ‘collaboration platforms’ the same way email is used today.

Collaboration platforms include a plethora of intranet-based tools, although in terms of replacing email, refer more closely to corporate-oriented instant-messaging networks, which often also incorporate elements of social media networks and profiles

“Social is the next evolution of communication and collaboration and what comes next after email,” Jay Larson, president of worldwide field operations at Jive, told Key Media.

“For a white collar employee, 28 hours a week is devoted to doing email, being in meetings or searching for information. Out of that 28 hours half of that was wasted doing things that didn’t add value to the business,” Larson explained. “So, there’s a tremendous opportunity to drive productivity and to give people a set of tools that not only help them better collaborate but drive efficiency and get their work done in a much better and faster way – and reduce the amount of email usage.”

Moving towards a more community-driven way of sharing information and communicating is something that Larson feels can help foster a greater company culture of collaboration between departments. “Increasingly businesses are driving the engagement with this – it might be HR, it might be comms, it might be sales or marketing, or a business leader driving a change program,” he said.

Do you find yourself spending a lot of time on emails during the working day? Do you think abstaining is a viable solution?


  • Scott 5/08/2013 9:40:36 AM
    If 2/3rds of his email are coming from 3 staff, then he either has a limited client base, or 3 very high maintenance staff.

    I don't think a modern insurance brokerage could work without emails - if only because insurers email renewals to us, clients contact us out of work hours & claims notifications are sent promptly to us.

    Mail as an alternative is neither fast or reliable.
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  • Gary Everdell 5/08/2013 9:58:36 AM
    There are and have been times , when rather than just "flick of yet another e-mail" I've thought about actually making the phone call instead.

    I think there are certainly times when its quicker to call a client + most will appreciatet he fact that you did bother and you can always ask some general questions about them and the busienss , and if they have the time will engage with you.

    You never know what you learn , when you ask open ended questions ?
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  • Koert Slik 6/08/2013 11:34:02 AM
    We make it an imperative to pick up the phone and chat with our stakeholders. Sure send an email and attach that vital document then call and discuss its content.

    With marketing activities it's amazing what can be learned from simply calling prospects or making the effort for personal introductions.

    With colleagues, pop in and chat with them. Emails are subject to interpretation by the recipient and depending on their mindset, the actual meaning through the use of written language may convey something quite extraordinarily different to what is was meant to convey.

    Auto spell check adds to the difficulty when we try to convey our message in written form even if it sometimes results in a somewhat humorous outcome. So if it has to be an email, check the language. Further, read what you are about to send then consider whether a call would better suit the situation.

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