Re-thinking the role of email in the workplace

According to Minda Zetlin, employees should pay more attention to their inboxes.

According to Minda Zetlin, employees should pay more attention to their inboxes.

When it comes to mobile communications, there are a lot of new players in the field. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and cloud-based services are creating quite a crowd when it comes to the way businesses connect with customers and each other. So, it may be time for companies to really start focusing on what, in today's commercial sector, is often considered an old hat: email.

Last month, in an article for business and technology blog Inc., president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors Minda Zetlin examined how many industry experts saw the role of email in the work place and found that many said that the best way to deal with email was to not check it, so as to not become inefficient in the office. The feedback surprised, Zetlin, who responded with some sound reasoning why ignoring one's email is far more ineffective strategy than fussing with it.

The first point the author makes is to emphasize that, while it's not often a noble endeavor, writing emails and communicating is part of working. As a writer, Zetlin says much of her time is devoted to talking with editors, getting feedback about assignments and sending invoices. It's impossible to run a business without proper communications, so it's a counterintuitive policy to say that email is unproductive.

Second, Zetlin argues that consistently checking emails improves efficiency by solving logistical issues faster. If employees spend too much time with their heads down when it comes to working, important emails may go unnoticed. If a company's personnel is working on a project and the parameters change mid-day, all that work that was accomplished may have been for naught.

In addition to a healthy approach to email and electronic communications, companies should also seek out HR software solutions to find the best ways to help the flow of information.