Don't move email misery to your social intranet

Jun 13, 2016

Joris Snoek
Digital Consultant
+31 (0)20 - 261 14 99

The past few years email has evolved itself into a four-headed monster. What started as a handy tool for communication has now become a work-around tool that keeps everybody from doing their job. Email is abused:

  • As a contact manager.
  • To manage files.
  • To manage tasks.
  • To collaborate with team members.


  • No central communication and notifications to keep all project members (internal and external) informed.
  • Important communication is buried, you have to search a lot for relevant information.
  • Transfer of work is not possible.
  • All communication, documentation and acceptances are fragmented.
  • No person independent projects and tasks.
  • No follow up of tasks in standard workflows.
  • ‘Reply all hell’ / ‘CC terror’.

It is also often used as a project management or crm tool: quickly check what was going on before contacting somebody.

Solution: good old intranet?

The traditional intranet is a bit old fashioned: an ugly, static environment where you can find some documents. Often you can also find news from three generations ago.

Fortunately the intranet has made a great comeback in the form of the social intranet. The social component updates the intranet and makes it alive; even a place you like to visit to stay informed about al developments within your organization. Wherever you are, similar to Facebook:

  • Activity streams with news, pictures, videos and status updates.
  • Project groups with tasks, forums and chats (open or closed).
  • Events, anniversaries and birthdays.
  • Central collaboration on projects and files.
  • Comprehensive profiles: who, what, where.

A large part of such a modern intranet is social: a lot of interaction is taking place. And a good thing is that this happens centrally and not via email, solving all the negative effects from above.

But new problems are looming:

Beware of 'social overload’ in your social intranet

So central communication in a social intranet can beat the four-headed monster, but if you are not careful you will run into similar problems in the social intranet. The main problem that may arise is a constant stream of notifications from messages, projects and tasks resulting into people being disturbed and again not finishing their work.

Messages within teams constitute more than 60% of all work related communication. And people tend to answer everything directly, especially when receiving notifications continuously.

If you are not careful this can become a bigger problem than email, because it feels more urgent. It requires a certain discipline not to be disturbed constantly. But a social intranet can help with this via:

  1. Selective notifications
  2. ‘Do not disturb’ feature
  3. Personal configurable email notifications

1. Selective notifications

Let the social intranet show only notifications from really important issues, this often saves more than 80%. This is a matter of setting what notifications are really important for your team.

2. ’Do not disturb’ feature

For example: you expect to need 4 hours to finish a certain task. Click on the ‘Do not disturb’ button in your social intranet and no more notifications will be shown for 4 hours.

3. Personal configurable email notifications

Let people personally set from which notifications they also want to receive an email, examples:

  • New tasks, messages, documents and groups.
  • Likes on your items.
  • Anniversaries, birthdays and events.
  • Approaching project deadlines.
  • Expired tasks.

So make sure your intranet controls the notifications in order to avoid disturbing people unnecessarily and boost the productivity.

Happy collaboration!

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