Love it, hate it or call it the gold at the end of your rainbow, e-mail is here to stay. Over the past two decades, it’s become deeply ingrained in our day-to-day business communication. It’s basically a requirement. Despite a number of software advances and changes in the online communication landscape, e-mail is more important than ever.
This was recently confirmed by a study conducted by Pew Research. They found that e-mail is indispensable among those who are Internet-connected at work. These days, that covers a lot of people. In fact, 61% say it plays an integral role in their job. Additionally, 46% say e-mail access keeps them more productive (while another 46% say e-mail has no bearing on their productivity one way or the other). Only 7% say e-mail hurts their productivity.
In 2014, social media analysts warned that e-mail was on its last legs and that it would soon be overtaken by other online services. However, as this study seems to confirm, that is not the case. In fact, in the workplace, it’s very much the opposite. The Pew study found that social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, benefited only about 4% of those in a connected workplace.
Even among the millennial generation, and those who regularly use social media networks in their personal lives, it hasn’t been something fully translatable to the professional environment as a productivity factor. This doesn’t discount uses for social media in the workplace—as a marketing or customer outreach tool—but no social media platform has come close to replacing e-mail as the go-to communication tool.
That doesn’t mean Silicon Valley start-ups aren’t trying. They are always at work trying to find that next four-leaf clover in online communication, hoping to develop that so-called “e-mail killer.” So far, nothing has stepped up that can achieve what e-mail can, particularly for businesses.
For many businesses, it comes right back to the fact that e-mail works. It’s a proven platform and it remains the business communication “golden child.” It’s the same reason phones and fax machines aren’t extinct. They serve a purpose and they help us get things done. That doesn’t stop businesses from always looking for ways to streamline that process.
Another reason e-mail works: accessibility. E-mail is used on nearly a universal level. Social media platforms, while many are incredibly popular, can’t touch the truly global reach of e-mail. Have you considered how e-mail impacts your job? Does it keep you productive? Or are you ready to move on to the Next Big Thing?