The foundation of good decision-making is information. But when there’s too much to manage, the excess can hinder your employees’ ability to make decisions and remain productive. That’s why taming the constant barrage of emails is a priority for many organizations, and why a number of team collaboration trends aim to reduce information overload.
According to Statista, the daily number of emails sent and received worldwide is expected to increase to over 333 billion in 2022. Email volumes will continue to rise because more and more employees are working remotely, resulting in a greater reliance on electronic messages.
Information Overload Leads to Employee Stress
As inboxes become unmanageable, some companies are turning to solutions such as banning off-hours messages. However, rules like that aren’t enough to relieve employee stress caused by the email deluge.
Information overload can lead to what psychologists are calling “telepressure” —a preoccupation and urge to respond to electronic messages in real time. It’s bad enough when inboxes are flooded, but things get worse when employees think they have to respond as quickly as possible to every message.
Even when your employees don’t have too much on their plate, information overload can create the perception that they do. This can dilute engagement, drop productivity and raise employee turnover rates.
How to Gain from New Team Collaboration Trends
Ironically, the objective of technology, especially email, is to enhance productivity and information management. Instead, it may hinder them. Businesses need to strike the right balance between communication, collaboration and technology without contributing to overload. Embracing even a few of the latest team collaboration trends can ease the burden.
Trend #1: Integration of Team Collaboration Tools
Rather than stretch email as a “one-size-fits-all” communications channel, it’s more productive to use team collaboration tools. Unlike email, where all data is treated uniformly, collaboration tools appreciate that different information needs should be treated in different ways. After all, schedule coordination, document management and task management all are unique tasks with their own demands.
With integrated tools – from instant messaging and team workspaces to audio/video conferencing and desktop sharing – collaboration tools will transform the way you work and enable your teams to be more productive, whether they’re in the office or off-site.
Trend #2: Shared Calendars & Presence Capabilities
While meetings are important to a business’s health, an exceptional number of emails are from people trying to coordinate schedules. An easy way to reduce this influx is to adopt shared calendar functionality.
Now imagine taking this calendar integration one step further. With presence features, your colleagues know instantly if you’re currently in a meeting or on the phone. Collaboration tools allow you to streamline the flow of communications by centralizing all group interactions into a single, synchronized workspace and customizing your settings to be more transparent through presence capabilities.
Trend #3: Document Collaboration
Have you ever had to pass a document to multiple team members for review? Were you editing version three while another team member was making changes in version four? This type of confusion is another cause of email overload because it requires many messages to be sent back and forth with new versions and clarifications, which is messy and inefficient.
Shared document collaboration systems store and organize documents in a central online location. Team members can log in to the system and edit, comment or review documents whenever they need to. Since there’s only a single instance of every document stored online, there’s no problem of multiple versions floating around—or multiple emails causing confusion and delays.
Document sharing allows better management of the communication and collaboration process and makes teams more productive and businesses more efficient.
Trend #4: Unified Collaboration for Project Management
Another cause of inbox anxiety is project management. Projects don’t have to be a disconnected disarray of messages and tools. Teamwork should be personal, flexible and simple. Collaboration technology makes it easier than ever to keep up to date on projects, assign to-dos with deadlines and track the progress of team members within a single application. The entire team can have a common view of where the project stands, and what everyone’s contributions are.
The key is to make email work for – rather than against – you and your business. Email isn’t going away any time soon, but the deluge of information created by disparate systems is a factor you can control. Embracing one or all of these trends will reduce employee stress and lead to better, faster decision-making.