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:
- Selective notifications
- ‘Do not disturb’ feature
- 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.