Are emails being replaced by Slack, Teams or Zoom?
In doing research for this article I Googled 'alternatives to email' just to see what Google suggested (seeing as they do, afterall, provide an email platform) and the third article that was brought up was titled 'Email is DEAD' from 2011.
Alternatives to email or moving away from email is not a new concept. In reality though, can anyone with a desk job really truly move away from email? Can anyone working in the Family Law ecosystem really move away from email?
What are the alternatives?
There are a number of alternatives on the market at the moment, many of them are free to use. Some of these alternatives include:
Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts or other web conferencing options
Slack or other chat room email replacements
Project management like Asana
Microsoft teams (which is trying to do all of the above)
Message services (like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram or Gmail chat)
Face to face conversations (now I am just being crazy)
These all have their place. Zoom is better for the emotional connection, and for replacing things that you use to do face to face like discussing a document while all looking at it. Slack and other message type services are better for working out details, but Slack also allows a more collaborative situation by having different channels with different coworkers included. Telephone calls remain important for avoiding the back and forth of one liners (when do you want to meet, I don't know, when are you free?) A project management system like Asana allows you to communicate on different projects using the comments function, while also sharing documents or assigning sub tasks to different team members.
Face to face conversations definitely have advantages, though at the moment we have little opportunity to use this medium.
All of these methods of communication have advantages and disadvantages but you can become overwhelmed by a flood of information coming at you from different channels.
So are emails being replaced?
In a word, no. Probably for one reason, it is universal. I can have Gmail, you can have Yahoo, someone else can have Outlook and we can all communicate without signing up to anyone else's platforms.
If I am using Asana and someone else is using Trello then one of us needs to sign up to the other platform to communicate. There are very few people of working age who do not have an email account and all the email accounts speak to each other. There are even apps to collect all your different emails across different accounts into one inbox. While many people try and get away from email to avoid the noise, what you actually end up with is a myriad of different ways that you can be contacted, all of which you have to keep track of. This can be more overwhelming than a 'full' inbox.
So before you jump on the replacing email bandwagon ask yourself, how many different channels do I want to keep track of? While these alternative methods of communication are great and they all have their place, too many methods creates a different sort of stress that won't help you to communicate better.
Our five part series on email this week is part of our collaborative Flexible Family Law group, where we discuss all things related to working flexibly within the Family Law ecosystem. If you would like to join that group you can click here.
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