Why we do not like email and how to live with it

    The future of email has been a matter of debate for more than a year, but it seems that this future exists. Although email is increasingly inferior in functionality to numerous cloud services for communication and collaboration, rumors about the imminent death of mail are greatly exaggerated. According to studies , this is still the most important means of business communication. Mail is ahead of social networks and messengers due to habit and ease of use. And since we still have to live with her for some time, it’s worth considering a more efficient organization of work with email.


    ’re constantly trying to make the counterproductive secret of correspondence more functional, making working with letters easier and more meaningful. For example, Google’s Inbox or AOL’s new Alto Mail app adds Swipe gestures for quickly archiving unwanted messages, filters for sorting and automatically extracting important details, for example, departure date and time, into separate cards. That is, an approach to mail appears as a task management tool.

    These innovations, of course, help to better structure work with incoming messages and get rid of such typical problems as files lost in correspondence or issues that have flown out of the head. Recently, we adopted this approach and we reworked the work with notifications from the task management system in our mobile applications. When Wrike for Android and iPhone came up with the ability to process the notification stream as a to-do list, the number of users working with notifications jumped from 30% to 70%.

    This, however, only helps with personal productivity, and the more fundamental email problems lie in the plane of collaboration. Recent surveyconducted by us showed that the top reasons that reduce the productivity of work at the team level include waiting for other people to respond and difficulties in accessing the information necessary for work.

    Correspondence by mail is an extremely opaque channel of communication. Progress on tasks is discussed in separate chains of letters, which include different groups of people. The team does not have quick access to relevant information on the entire project and to the latest versions of all the necessary files. This means that employees have to spend time and each time re-request this information from each other.

    In theory, these problems are once solved by systems for collaboration, the purpose of which is to provide a common work context that is accessible to all. There you can put together all descriptions, discussions and files on tasks, provide quick access to information, immediately understand what stage everything is in, in the end.

    But, as already mentioned, few are willing to refuse mail. And if you can’t win, you can lead, that is, correctly integrate email into a more advanced set of project management tools. In principle, we not only thought about how it might look, but also realized some ideas of such a bunch in Wrike .

    Effective coexistence
    Firstly, the correct integration of mail with the service should not affect the established habits of users. Nobody blocks or prohibits anything. Employees can correspond in the old fashioned way. What is important is to provide a quick and comfortable way to export this information into a single cloud storage, where all resources and discussions of the task are concentrated. And we decided that the easiest way is to simply send an important letter to the working cloud at wrike@wrike.com, where a new task will be created immediately on its basis.

    Secondly, integration should be two-way. Fans of email should also be aware of all the changes in Wrike for tasks that interest them. Therefore, all notifications of project updates are automatically sent to employees by mail. However, we do not force the person to switch from mail to Wrike to leave a comment there in the discussion. This can be done simply by reply. You can even attach files to this answer.

    Thirdly, you need to take care of the working environment. In the case of mail, this is the application in which the user reads it. We have made several plugins for popular clients: Outlook, Mac Mail, Gmail, which do about the same thing - they allow you to more efficiently use the message viewer. In fact, the plugin allows you to turn a letter from Wrike into a full-fledged working screen where you can correct the description and status of the task, add files and comments, appoint an artist, etc.

    It is worth noting that we do not urge to put Wrike. To one degree or another, our competitors are also working to make email more meaningful. The main thing is that our experience shows that email can be put at the service of productivity. The main thing to be able to cook it is to use it in the right proportion and in combination with the right products.

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