Using the Intranet to Reduce Email Overload

By Simpplr Marketing
Intranet - exhausted woman keeping her head down in front of laptop screen
Many organizations and their employees are drowning in emails, resulting in significant information overload. A huge email inbox is not only a source of extreme frustration, but also highly inefficient and a drain on productivity.

Research has shown that on average, a business user receives and sends a total of 122 emails per day, and employees can spend as much as 28% of their working week reading and answering emails! Meanwhile, an ever-increasing mountain of data puts pressure on servers and makes searchability even more challenging.

There’s no easy cure for this collective email addiction. It’s all about changing behavior – and that requires time and effort.

However, there are some relatively straightforward steps you can follow to help lighten your email burden. For example, a social intranet can help reduce emails in your organization by providing an alternative and more optimal channel for certain types of communication. Here are five ways to use your social intranet to help your employees escape from inbox hell!

Stop sending non-urgent internal communications by email

Email is still used as a channel for distributing news stories, information and newsletter updates throughout organizations, not only by internal communications departments but by different teams and divisions.

Stop using email and start using your social intranet to post non-urgent internal communications! The intranet is a much better place to post news stories, which can include pictures and videos, be targeted to different groups and also allow employees to rate and comment on the content.

By all means, send a weekly email summary of top intranet stories with relevant links, but try to discourage creating a new email for each communication. Your users will be grateful.

Use the intranet for questions

Do you get employees sending emails to all staff asking if they know somebody who speaks Swahili or where to find a subject matter expert on the Icelandic fishing industry?  Or asking if anybody wants to buy their spare ticket to the Beyoncé concert that evening?  If the answer is yes, then you should be using your social intranet!

First, restrict access to the “All Staff” email address so that employees can no longer ask questions this way. Second, get people to search for experts on your employee directory, ask a question in a community on your social intranet or create a way for people to drop questions into an all-company social feed.  You can also create an area for staff classified adverts.

By creating alternative channels, you can start to reduce unwanted emails.

Drive self-service

Many employees email questions to the IT Help Desk or the HR Service Center and then receive a reply back. But intranets can remove some of the need to use email.

By publishing content with details of answers to common IT problems or information on HR processes, as well as Frequently Asked Questions, employees can often get the answer themselves without the trouble of writing an email.

Alternatively, there might be a support community with discussion forums to ask and answer questions. This self-service approach can really help to reduce unnecessary emails.

Drive team collaboration on the social intranet

Teams, groups and communities are continually communicating by email, for example sending around documents and sharing information. And then somebody will send another email, asking for the latest version of a document or thanking the other person for the update.  And then there’s another email, and another, and another…it’s a hard habit to break!

Email is spectacularly inefficient for online collaboration and interaction. Poor version control, lost data and items not being available to everybody who needs access are just some of the numerous issues. Use a workspace or community on your social intranet for team collaboration instead. There is a record of everything you need, you know everybody is seeing the same thing and you avoid wasting time by fruitlessly searching through the dreaded inbox.

Use the intranet to run a campaign to reduce email

You can also use your social intranet to launch a campaign to get people to reduce their email inbox. This shows endorsement from senior management. Consider allowing employees to contribute their own tips and tricks, and to report on overall progress so far to make the campaign more engaging.

Your employees will really appreciate it if you can make their working day better.

Any other ideas?

We believe the above tips will help you reduce email usage. However, social intranets are only part of the solution.We’d love to hear from you if you have any tips, stories and approaches (using the intranet or otherwise) that have worked in your organization.

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