Workplace communication to favour real-time tools in 5 years

Email could become new snail mail: Robert Half
||Last Updated: 09/01/2011

Email may soon become the new snail mail, according to a Robert Half Technology survey. Nearly one-half (48 per cent) of 270 chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed said real-time workplace communication tools will surpass traditional email in popularity within the next five years.

When asked, "In the next five years, do you think real-time workplace communication tools — for example, instant messaging, SharePoint, Yammer, etc. — will be more or less popular than email among employees?" their responses were:

•Much more popular (15 per cent)

•Somewhat more popular (33 per cent)

•The same (38 per cent)

•Somewhat less popular (six per cent)

•Much less popular (one per cent)

•Don't know/no answer (seven per cent).

"Although there is a definite place for email in the workplace, using real-time tools allows workers to solve problems and get the answers they seek much more quickly than constructing an email and waiting for a reply," said Lara Dodo, regional vice-president for Robert Half Technology in Canada.

There are three benefits to real-time tools, according to Robert Half:

Speed: Instant messaging (IM) allows employees to have conversations at the click of a button, without opening emails or waiting for responses. IM also enables employees in different locations to have real-time conversations, thus resolving issues more quickly.

Convenience: Many programs include a host of features such as IM, microblogging, forums and document collaboration and management. This eliminates the need to switch between separate programs to communicate. Not only does this have the potential to improve efficiency but it can increase collaboration on projects and reduce the need for meetings.

The social aspect: Enterprise social networking sites, such as Yammer or Chatter, are useful for collaboration and sharing ideas and best practices within a company. This technology can also foster teamwork and camaraderie among employees.

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