No News Isn't Good News: Not Knowing If Emails Are Read Is Hurting Business Productivity

A black hole, something your inbox might quickly feel like if you’re using it for critical communication

Do you catch yourself obsessively hitting "refresh" in your inbox as you await a reply? Does it frustrate you when you can’t move forward on a task until you hear back from someone else? Not knowing if your emails are being read sets you and your coworkers back drastically when trying to get things done.

Did You Mean Right Now?
Some processes require urgent action, and email is just not the right tool for that. Take a situation where you need any one of a group of coworkers to react to an issue. Let's say a VIP is visiting your facilities, and you need someone there to ensure things are in place. You ping one of the managers but never hear back. What should you do: should you wait for a response? Or should you reach out to others on-site? The latter ensures things get done, but if the first individual has noted your request you might run the risk of repetition of work, and you're pulling other staff away from their responsibilities. All in all, you consistently end up in a state of uncertainty that cannot be productive.

Important Information Disappearing Into A Black Hole
Second, not getting important information in the right hands sometimes can cost your organization dearly. The field sales scenario is a good example. Prices are constantly being set at the HQ, and you as a salesman might be constantly on the road meeting clients. Prices might get updated while you are making a client call, and the HQ email containing price information can get lost in the inbox while you are in the midst of negotiating a deal. The prices you quote might be either too high or too low, introducing the risk of either your client opting out or a loss to your company. In urgent situations like this, email is far from being the best communication channel.

What Is Going On Over There?!
Third, your mind can run wild as you wait for a response, and this causes stress and frustration to build - did she get my email? is he ignoring me? Did I say something wrong? Nothing is more nerve-wracking than waiting for a response to a sensitive matter: initiating a private discussion with your boss, or soliciting time-sensitive feedback from a coworker, etc. With those feelings gnawing at you while you wait for a reply, it’s hard to focus on other matters that need your attention. You technically do have the bandwidth to look at other work, but it is a sure bet that that period of time is going to be unproductive.

We repeatedly hear these gripes from our community within enterprise about email and even other forms of communication such as radios, pagers, and intranets. The key feature that these tools all lack is accountability: letting people know they have been heard loud and clear.

That needs to change: we've placed a premium from day one on embedding accountability throughout our secure enterprise messaging solution. It is time to not only communicate at work, but to do it better, stop information from falling through cracks, and identify where that is happening. If you're no longer willing to twiddle your thumbs while waiting for a reply to a work message, perhaps you'd like to take a closer look at Lua.