Love it or hate it, email is here to stay—but it’s getting better

For years, analysts, experts, and executives have been debating the relevancy of email and its longevity in the enterprise. Some have claimed that emails “will remain the cornerstone of workplace culture” long term. Others are adamant that another tool will replace it, even within the next three years.

Recently, Slack launched Shared Channels, which enables businesses that use Slack to interoperate and communicate across organizations. As part of the announcement, the company stated the new solution would enable workers to “say goodbye to email for work with external vendors, partners, clients, and more”.

Email can be difficult to manage and disruptive to workflows, but despite the claims of Slack (and many others often in response to a new application or technology), the predictions that email is or will soon be dead have failed to come true. And they probably won’t anytime soon.

Email is still the top form of workplace communication

Far from being on the brink of death, email continues to dominate business communication. Of the 205 billion emails sent daily, 121 of those messages end up in the average worker’s inbox. In fact, in a recent survey of 881 business professionals worldwide, 50 percent of respondents said their inbox is where they spend most of their working day, claiming they check their mailboxes five times per hour. Email’s familiarity, standardization across organizations, ability to scale, and sorting and archiving features make it the go-to communications solution across organizations worldwide. But popularity doesn’t mean that employees are satisfied with email.

The McKinsey Global Institute found that email is by far the most time-consuming work activity with employees spending almost 28 percent of work time writing and responding to emails. This is a huge time waster considering that over half the emails that end up in the average inbox are unimportant or could be processed in bulk. It’s no wonder 21 percent of employees feel that the work emails they receive are irrelevant to them and nearly 40 percent would prefer to get fewer emails.

The real change that’s needed isn’t to email itself—many have tried and failed to “fix” email. Instead, organizations must learn how employees want to use email and focus on enabling technologies that make email more productive.

It’s time to make email actionable

There is a huge opportunity for email to become more in line with how employees work. Email has long been a communication portal, a place where a workforce can send and share information, but what if could become more—what if email could be a portal for information and system activities as well?

Email can and should be used for more than just sending messages. It has the potential to truly help employees be more productive, instead of simply serving as a communication tool. Today’s workforce needs email to be actionable—they want to be able to receive relevant, personalized information and complete various tasks immediately without having to leave their inbox. Here’s how to make email actionable:

  • Proactively deliver important information and tasks. Today, when employees must complete a quick task, like an approval, they receive an email with a link pointing them to the system where the task is hosted – then they must log in, find the task, and complete it. With actionable email, employees receive relevant information or tasks that need action directly in their inbox where they can complete the task and move on.
  • Personalize what emails are sent to employees. Not all emails are created equal, and not all updates are important for every employee. Make sure that the right person is being notified about the information, system updates, or high-priority tasks that are most relevant to them.
  • Enable easy workflow completion. Streamline workflows by allowing employees to take immediate action right from their inbox. When employees can use a single application to complete actions across multiple business systems, they can use their time more effectively and get more done at work.

Sapho Employee Experience Portal makes email useful again

Today’s employees need seamless experiences that allow them to receive relevant information in real time, regardless of what channel they’re using. Sapho Employee Experience Portal proactively sends valuable business data, personalized insights, important system changes, and high-priority tasks directly to employees right in their inbox.

For example, employees can leverage Microsoft Outlook’s Actionable Messages to ensure employees never miss an important update or critical tasks from any of their existing systems. This also enables employees to take action directly from the email—they can approve or reject requests, such as approvals, without ever leaving outlook. You can read more about how Sapho integrates with Microsoft Outlook here.

Similarly, Sapho has partnered with VMware to deliver actionable emails to VMware Boxer secure email clients, enabling employees to compete work in their email solution. You can learn more about Sapho’s integration with VMware here.

Ultimately, email is here to stay, and while it has its challenges, it’s also still an integral part of how companies do business. Getting rid of it altogether is not the answer. Sapho can enhance the usefulness of email, helping employees work more efficiently in whichever environment they prefer by surfacing the right information or tasks when and where they are needed.

Interested in learning more about how companies are using Sapho to transform work? 


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Natalie Lambert

Natalie Lambert is the Vice President of Marketing at Sapho. She joins from Citrix where she held multiple product marketing leadership positions. Before that, Natalie was a principal analyst at Forrester Research where she was the leading expert on end user computing.

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