March 3 is International No Email Day, an initiative started by Paul Lancaster in 2011 so that people could be more productive with their time.
With all due respect to Mr. Lancaster, we think email helps people be much more productive (at least in their professional lives).
In fact, we’d bet that most people who had office jobs back in the 1980s would probably agree (note for young’uns: a recap of the archaic 80s methods of business communications is provided below).
Without basic email, we wouldn’t have Exchange, SharePoint and Lync to help us better manage our daily communications and collaborative efforts. Those who run these solutions would be hard pressed to give them up for even a day.
Sure, we all have cluttered inboxes. But before email, we had crammed filing cabinets, bursting rolodexes and cluttered desks instead.
Now, we’re not saying that email can’t be a time waster. We all receive more than our fair share of spam and annoying chain letters. But would you really want to go back to 1985?
Perhaps March 3 should be more about raising people’s awareness on our global dependency on technology.
MISPLACED NOSTALGIA FOR PRE-EMAIL DAYS?
In the modern 80s, if you couldn’t meet with someone in person, you called them by phone. This often led a frustrating game of phone tag. But eventually, you’d get the person on the line. Following the phone conversation, you’d have to take the time to recap the key points of the conversation in a written letter that was either mailed or faxed—followed up by another phone call to ensure the said letter was indeed received.
And that was simply phase one of a business dialogue. We haven’t even mentioned sending floppy disks by courier so that documents could be reviewed and approved.
Again, we’re not saying email is the epitome of business communications. We’ve already written about some of the common mistakes people make with their emails.
In previous articles, we’ve listed some of the main productivity-boosting features of Microsoft Hosted Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. With centralized emails, calendars, contacts, effortless sharing and collaborating of documents in real time, single-click audio and video conferencing, integrated social networking and more, these business solutions have made it exponentially easier and faster to communicate with co-workers and clients. They also allow us to better manage our communications with availability statuses, the storing and archiving of data, instant searches, etc.
Remember calling a co-worker’s extension just to see if they were available? Lync shows you instead.
Will they ever replace in-person conversations? That’s a good question. If history is any indication, our modern-day communications will soon go the way of the fax machine. Google glasses anyone?
But since International No Email day falls on a Sunday, we do agree that it’s a great opportunity to connect with friends and family—in person. We recommend you send out a Facebook invite the day before. And perhaps Monday, March 4 should become International Clean Out Your Inbox day.