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Place of email as a communication tool

By khan757 ·
Perhaps I am missing the point, but shouldn't email be on the same level of importance as any other common communication tools like snail-mail, inter-office mail and voice mail?
I have several users that routinely ask for information to be printed out for them and put in their mailbox. I frequently get comments that 'I never pay attention to my email' or 'Unless I get a hard copy, it is too easy to overlook' and several similar comments. I am in a unique position in that I am also the Finance Manager and frequently have information the entire staff needs to be aware of or respond to. Is it reasonable for the rest of the staff to expect me to print this information out and then have to follow up with each of them? The most difficult part of this is that my boss, the Plant Manager, is one of the 'offenders'. Is it OK to create more work for me just because they are not comfortable/diligent about using email?
Do I bite the bullet and give up on the usefulness of email as a communication tool?
How do I go about changing this mind set?

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I would

by Jaqui In reply to Place of email as a commu ...

tell them that we are saving money, printouts must be paid for by recipient or there will not be any.
so you with either pay 50 cents for a hard copy or use the electronic copy.

if I see a hard copy that was not paid for, then the cost will be deducted from next paycheque, with penalties for abusing the system.

but then, I don't agree with computers and printed copies of something. the idea behind computers is to save money and the environment by not using paper.

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Try seeing it from the other side.

by DC Guy In reply to Place of email as a commu ...

What you say is correct, but you have to accept the fact that e-mail technology hasn't quite matured. It's way too easy to push that SEND button, and it's way too easy to turn your own incredibly clever and informative message into flaming spam that 95% of your addressees have to delete before they can start doing their jobs.

I've been in IT shops where many individuals receive 200 e-mails every day. They simply don't have enough hours in the day to read them. And since the Workstation Revolution flattened clerical and administrative jobs out of the organizational pyramid, there's no one left to help with the problem.

A few e-mail clerks could straighten this problem out in no time. The clerks were always the people who kept the company running, and we stupidly replaced them all with computers.

Before you dismiss the concerns of the people who are complaining, go to their workstation and see what they have to deal with. Your really important report may be just one more piece of trash to wade through, from their perspective.

Because of the fact that the world's so-called "information infrastructure" has become nothing more than a glorified sandbox for a lot of immature people to play in, as well as a free billboard for the advertising industry, the usefulness of e-mail as a communication medium is in jeopardy.

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I've seen it from the other side. i'm not impressed.

by chaotic1 In reply to Try seeing it from the ot ...

I can totally agree with the idea that you're trying to get across. We as IT people need to understand the user perspective. BUT, we all also know that users are whiny individuals who don't like change, and want everything their way. The problem lies in the fact that IT people (normally) can't change policy. It needs to be mandated from management. Unfortunately, the only way to change the company thinking toward things is to have it come from management. I say unfortunately, because many companies lack forward thinking management. Too many people are stuck in the past. In the past, people HAD to use paper. Now, we've got email. You can organize and keep track of messages much more effectively than holding on to a piece of paper that someone shoved in your inbox. I'm not going to go into my usual rant about the subject, because i don't think it's necessary here, but the bottom line (imho) is that email is here to stay. people need to embrace it, learn how to use it, and then USE it. As for the spam and all of the other crap, filters are getting much better nowadays. I was able to reduce the amount of spam recieved by 90% just by adding the right mail filter. (which coincidentally also lowered the load on the exchange server dramatically)

My sugesstion is to hold a few classes. teach people how to create rules to handle the overflow of messages that come into their inbox(email). Learn to flag important messages. Take the time to learn the tools that you are using. Case in point. You wouldn't just hand a person a circular saw and say, "there you go, cut that wood" would you? So don't think that you can just hand someone email, and assume that they know how to use it. Education of the user is one of the most important, yet most overlooked aspect of IT. We (myself incluced on many occasions) tend to think that since we know how to do it, everybody should know how. That's simply not the case. They need to know how to use the tools that they have been given.

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