Has e-mail changed the way you communicate at work?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Chris Blount, Oct 19, 2006.

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  1. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I saw this article in my company's daily bulletin and thought it was interesting. I remember working in an office way back when there was no e-mail or cell phones. I sometimes wonder how our new toys has changed the way we communicate with eachother at work:

     
  2. Jason Nipp

    Jason Nipp Analog Geek in a Digital World Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Gold Club DBSTalk Club

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    I agree with it.

    I have often commented after a post was misinterpreted, that it is hard to understand one's intentions as text has no real tone or body language to understand how serious or joking the author is. This has been an issue for a long time, and has often been the cause of misunderstanding.

    In business, I prefer face to face meetings, and I leave email usually for the tactical everyday work. If it's important, and you can't risk misinterpretations, you need to take the time to talk in person, if not a phone is still more effective than email just due to the fact you have personality in the tone of voice.

    Thanks for sharing that Chris.
     
  3. JM Anthony

    JM Anthony Child of the 60's DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I got a chuckle earlier this week. There was an e-mail exchange going on between one of my staff and a new staffer in one of the agencies we work with. It was clear that good communication wasn't occuring and my staff suggested a conference call to get everyone on the same page. The new kid on the block declined say e-mail was much more "efficient" for him. :lol:

    John
     
  4. Selenna

    Selenna Fair Lady of the forums DBSTalk Gold Club

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    In my opinion e-mail and meetings are the biggest work-related drains on productivity in the workplace today... the internet and personal e-mail are the biggest non work-related drains.
     
  5. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Depends on what kind of job you have really.

    I've worked in companies where people would say one thing in a face-to-face meeting, but then deny it later... so the only way to get anyone to commit to anything was to send an email that required a reply confirming a decision.

    I agree face-to-face can be more productive, and I prefer it to the faceless/emotionless emails... but some people are too quick to back out of something they say unless you have something in writing to back it up.

    As a writer, I had many times when someone would verbally confirm something for me and then after I wrote it up the same person would deny ever having given me the information... so the only way I could keep my own behind covered was to require that input be given to me in some written/emailed form that I could keep as a record. Still had people try to back out of stuff, but when I would send their own email back to them they were forced to recant... without the emails I would have had a lot of shifty folks backing out of commitments.

    Too much he-said-she-said goes on at some companies, and without a chain of verifiable information there are always folks who will take advantage.

    I also had lots of people pull the "I didn't know" or "no one told me" defense when faced with something that they were responsible for doing that they had not done yet... but when you could prove you sent them emails that they ignored, especially when you CCed their boss so he was reading them and knew his guy had not been replying... then again, you keep the shifty folks in line.
     
  6. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I somewhat agree with you on that. A couple of times my boss tried to tell me that I never sent him some information he wanted. I simply went into my sent box which showed the e-mail was sent along with the read receipt. That pretty much shut him up. :)
     
  7. Steve Mehs

    Steve Mehs Hall Of Fame

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    Since I have an industrial physical labor job, instead of a desk job, email is never used. Anyway, the only computer I use runs Windows 95, does not have internet access and is just an interface to control our machines. Pretty much 90% of my communications at work are done via Nextel Direct Connect. The other 10% face to face. Personally I think this is more efficient. Depending on the situation you have the information you need in a lot of times under a minute, instead of playing email tag back and forth all day.
     
  8. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Yep... The absolute best ones are when someone deletes your email without even reading it... and you get a return receipt back that says so... and then you forward it to their boss when he asks why you are late with something... then the other guy has egg on his face when he has to explain why he deleted the message without even reading it!

    I do agree email can be time consuming and bog things down at times... I love being able to find a person, ask a couple of questions, and jot down some quick notes and be done with it... but like any loophole, many people like to exploit lack of records and deny conversations unless you can put the words back in front of their eyes.

    I once had a guy mad because my boss was refusing to put something into distribution until he emailed us his approval. He promised over the phone that he approved and was fine, but my boss stood strong in wanting written approval from him. He fumed, but eventually wrote the note.

    Then a couple of months later on another project... he called me one day and asked why something had gone through that he hadn't approved... and I let him know that he had in fact approved, and I was sending him his email of approval. He was red-faced, and apologised... and I then politely reminded him that this was exactly the situation my boss was preparing for the last time.

    Things slip through, and sometimes people (like him) approve things to get rid of them without actually examining thoroughly... then if a mistake gets through and he notices later, he is quick to find someone to blame... which is why we always wanted complete inspections in case something slipped by that we weren't aware of so no one could say we had made up the info.

    After that, he and I got along really well because he knew I wasn't just being stubborn but that I wanted quality and wanted to make sure he really looked things over, not just give me a rubber stamp in a hurry.

    Oh... as an aside... I found it highly amusing to note that many of the same people that hated reading/responding to emails saying they "had no time" were often found chatting with IM programs... so they had the time, just chose to use it not doing their jobs instead!
     
  9. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    It is a toss up with me. I like the immediate response of a face to face or a phone call, but face to face isn't always possible and phone calls are often met with voice mail that is not immediately returned. There are some people where email is the best way of contacting them ... maybe the response will come the next day but at least a response comes.

    In general I don't like email. It is too easy to miss a message or misunderstand it. Last week I had a typical bad email exchange - boss emails on Monday "can you do this by Friday" - I email back (on Monday) "no" and explain - he calls on Thursday and asks if everything is set for Friday. Uh, no - read your email - I told you it would not be!!

    I don't check my email constantly throughout the day. If you have something urgent for me email is not the best way. If you have an urgent email you better call. I do answer my cellphone 24/7 and my office phone when I am there (and the office phone pages my cellphone when you leave a voicemail). The TELEPHONE is the best way to reach me urgently. Don't send "I need this in five minutes" emails! I normally check emails right before leaving work to make sure I have not missed anything important - it is no fun to see urgent emails from the morning at 5:30pm. (Especially if the email was a partial reply to emails and voicemails asking someone who isn't returning my calls to CALL me! I don't need an email that says "I'm at my desk now for the next 20 minutes" - I need a call.) There are days where the constant "put out the fire" calls keep me away from my desk for hours --- unless you're going to buy me a Blackberry to carry (or similar device) don't send urgent email without calling. (Thanks.)

    Then there is the guy who sat in the office outside my office door who would email me short questions. My office door is open most of the time (I close it for some phone calls) and I could see him sitting at his desk working. Every once in a while I'd get an email asking a question that would have been a 10 second talk. I'm wondering if he was using email to BCC the boss? In any case, it was annoying.

    Yes, email has changed the way we work. It makes us more productive and connected in some areas - getting things in writing and document transfers is easy in email (with some contacts I fax documents they want AND email them because their company's in house fax distribution system is slow) - quotes and bills are easily received by email and I have also scanning mailed documents into PDF because it's easier to find documents on my computer than in paper records. But it can also cut productivity when people forget that there are other ways of communicating.

    Pet email peeve: Junk mail. My boss will forward all sorts of stuff that I have no business reason to read. Other employees will do this too. If I get an email I want it to be important! By sending me the "forward of the day" to be immediately deleted or replied to with the all too common "you know this is a scam, don't you?" my boss is teaching me that not all of his email is critical. And then he yells when I miss the one critical email in the "storm" of junk forwards. Who's fault is that? You guessed it! :)
     
  10. Nick

    Nick Charter Gold Club Member DBSTalk Club

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    The...
    "Has e-mail changed the way you communicate at work?"

    What work? :shrug:

    :icon_da:
     
  11. Bogy

    Bogy Hall Of Fame

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    Some people don't like the smilies, and some overuse them, or misuse them, but they CAN give a sense of what the tone or body language would have been. Too bad business email doesn't generally include smilies. :)

    At the risk of bending a rule, I often wish the Bible had been written with smilies. :D
     
  12. Selenna

    Selenna Fair Lady of the forums DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Wow, that's an image I never would have conjured up on my own :engel07:
     
  13. Jason Nipp

    Jason Nipp Analog Geek in a Digital World Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Gold Club DBSTalk Club

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    I find that delivery/read receipts can work in your favor as well. ;)
     
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