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Communication and Collaboration

10 ways intranets ease email pain

Are you still holding onto email for dear life? Is it impacting your productivity? If any of these scenarios sound a little familiar, it might be time to try an intranet instead.

6 minute read
email pain
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In 2021 Gmail added an extra layer of security that alerted users when they were about to send an email message to recipients outside their network. 

Wait, aren’t all emails sent to recipients outside a network? Who actually uses email as their primary tool for internal communication?

Apparently a LOT of people. 

Intended originally as an asynchronous communication platform, email is still used heavily for internal document collaboration, image and file repositories, and even discussions. In fact, during the pandemic an overwhelming majority of internal communicators (93%) said email was the most-preferred channel for reaching employees. 

But just because it’s a common way of communicating, doesn’t mean it is the best way to communicate. 

If you want to improve your internal communication (and avoid an out-of-control in-box) you need to move internal discussions and communication out of email and onto your intranet. 

Below are nine email frustrations you won’t miss when you make the switch. 

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1. Searching for long-lost email messages

While email search functionality has come a long way in the last ten years, it’s still far from perfect. And even if we can eventually locate a long-lost message, is the time and effort really worth it? The sophisticated search functionality with intranet software helps employees locate everything they need. And when employees can easily find what they are looking for, they don’t waste time searching.

2. Crawling through email threads

Even when we locate important information within an email chain we often forget that a single message is potentially just one in a sea of other conversational threads. One employee may reply to all, while another may forward it on to others. Before you know it there are dozens of conversations happening at once, and accessible to only those in the thread. Because intranets are a great place for discussions, you won’t have to worry about searching through broken threads. Tagging abilities ensure that relevant discussions are easily found without wasting time.

3. Crafting long emails and not knowing if anyone is actually reading them

According to a survey conducted by APPrise, 30 percent of employees admit they don’t read emails from their employers. This is extremely frustrating to internal communicators–especially when there are important news and announcements that must be read. An intranet empowers communicators with the platform to inform employees of critical news and events. It also provides them with reassurance (through analytics) that their communication efforts are working.

4. Downloading massive attachments

Sending attachments through email has many limitations. Firstly, it hogs the memory on your server. If you have any doubts about this, ask your IT team. Some files are too large to even be sent through email, which means you may not know your attachment wasn’t correctly sent. Also, if you have ever tried searching for an attachment within your email you likely know it isn’t easy, which isn’t too surprising considering most of us have overflowing inboxes.

5. Reply to all

A former colleague of mine was once accidentally included in a reply-all email that wasn’t intended for every single employee. It was during a live CEO town hall, where an employee accidentally replied “Blah blah blah” to thousands of other colleagues. While the story is admittedly entertaining, it does remind us of the potential consequences of all staff emails and that email is not intended for group discussions.

6. Critical chain of events and decisions locked up in silos

While it’s great to have an electronic record of permissions, it hasn’t always been easy to find these approvals when necessary. Critical information shouldn’t be locked away in silos or an email inbox. By moving important discussions to the intranet, employees can easily locate the information they require to do their job.

7. Never knowing which attachment is the most recent

If you want to upset your brand manager, try using an outdated or stretched out logo that you found in an old email folder. Your intranet can help you manage version control, so employees can collaborate and communicate effectively on numerous projects, with the knowledge that they are working on the correct versions of documents and images.

8. Key people or departments left out-of-the-loop

“No one tells me anything!”, is a familiar phrase heard in a lot of workplaces. Employees may not be intentionally left out of important discussions, but many are still feeling out of the loop. This is because most decisions and departmental discussions are still happening within email. And then when a key person is finally brought into the discussion, they feel left out because they weren’t involved in the first place. An intranet helps surface relevant information and discussions so employees feel involved from the beginning.

9. Great ideas, stuck in someone else’s inbox

It’s not uncommon for employees to brainstorm in an email chain—sometimes even accidentally. For example, a member from your marketing team casually mentions a witty headline for an upcoming holiday campaign. But since that subject isn’t relevant at that moment it is forgotten. However, months later when it’s time to execute that campaign, no one can recall what that brilliant idea was or where it was discussed. With an intranet, your employees have a location to post ideas that can easily be discovered when the timing is right.

10. Starting your mornings with a full inbox

I hate to brag, but sometimes I forget to open my email inbox. Now obviously all job roles are different, and if you rely heavily on external collaborators, you don’t have it as easy as I do. The point is that the majority of my collaboration and communication is conducted internally with colleagues, so I therefore communicate either through our intranet or through instant messaging applications. I have almost no use for email. 

As you can see, internal communication can vastly improve just by moving certain conversations and content to your intranet. 

Email isn’t going away any time soon, and nor should it, but if you are still using it for your primary source of internal communication, it’s time to rethink things. 

Organizations thrive when they embrace change. The same holds true for people. By incorporating more purposeful communication applications like intranet software into your digital workplace, and adapting our work style to meet the changes of a workplace environment, we all become more valuable colleagues and team members.