One of the key aspects of my job is to manage activities that involve multiple teams, to manage their times and expectations. So naturally, email plays a vital role in communicating with those respective teams. However, what do you do when the corporate culture includes talking more via email and less via phone, even when you are in an open plan office?
I started experiencing this 2 yrs ago and it’s got worse. Our corporate culture strives on having conversations all through email. I once had a 4-way email conversation; emails coming in from all directions like some question time. I couldn’t put up with it so instantly sent out a meeting request, got everyone in a room and thrashed out whatever needed to be thrashed out. At the end of the session, I queried why the flurry of emails, response was paper trail, proof, cover my ass. So much for taking your word for it.
This scenario is even worse when you are in an open plan office; I once made the mistake of emailing something to a member in my team who sits 2 rows up, he wasn’t too happy and I understood his point. Email stops us from picking up the phone and having a conversation, it stops us from walking up to people and talking to them. I don’t think it’s too much of a paper trail exercise but more of the fact that we are too lazy to communicate verbally.
To minimise on emails and improve communication, I always pick up the phone and talk, or walk over if we are in the same office. If someone says they’ll do, that’s good enough for me, don’t need it in an email as proof, we should learn to trust more.
*image – http://www.youarenotyourinbox.com