Email: A Love-Hate Relationship in Business

By Katlin Walters
August 12, 2019
5 min read
Hands typing on a laptop

We can all agree that no matter how much we hate email, we’re not going to stop using it. It’s private, platform independent and gives us the ability to send documents and embedded content instantly – the perfect platform that serves all of our business communication needs! Well if all of this is true, then why do we constantly complain about email? And if we ever did get the courage to part with the system that has served us for over 40 years, what would be the next best thing?

The reality is, email probably isn’t going anywhere (at least within the next 5 years), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t better alternatives for people to use when it comes to collaboration tools. Let’s dive a little deeper into the mystery behind why everyone hates email but continues to use it.

It’s the “OG” tool and everyone knows how to use it

How many messaging platforms can we confidentially say have been around for more than 40 years? Email was the foundation to direct messaging and online communication when the internet was born. Don’t you remember when you got your first computer and setting up an email was the first thing on your to-do list? Coming up with your email address when any address you wanted was still available cause no one else had taken it yet – what a time to be alive! Email was, at one point in time, the only option when it came to online communication (and for several years too).

When businesses started embracing email as a way to communicate and collaborate with staff, it worked great. Now a days, there are over 200 billion emails being sent every day to people that are coming various businesses, colleagues and spam accounts. But, no matter how frustrated we get with the over-saturation of the email space; we still use it because it is engrained in us.

GIF: "I don't even know how to use a semicolon to this day."

We trust email as a communication platform

In the past, we never heard much negative news around email’s security. Of course, there was the once-in-a-while occurrence of someone getting hacked and having their information stolen. But that never stopped us from using or trusting it. We like to believe that no outside party is going to steal that important document you’re sending to your colleague, that is, if they don’t know your account information anyways.

Although over the years we have put a lot of trust into emails, the recent increase in Malware production and spam messages have put email security to the test while raising some user’s eyebrows about how secure it really is. But, at the end of the day, when used correctly and intuitively, alongside the help of a good IT team, email is still considered as one of the more secure communications channels for businesses.

GIF: Trust fall

It’s platform independent

Email being platform independent means that anyone is able to send emails from any account to any other account without any problems. People don’t have to be on the same platform at the same to reach them (unlike Facebook messaging for example). This makes it easier for people to communicate with others and eliminates that awkward “do you have Facebook?” question. This ties back to the convenience that email has brought over the years to its users. It doesn’t matter if you have a Gmail, an Outlook or even a Yahoo account, they are all accessible to each other.

Now I have to admit, this is one of the more appealing features of email. If you want to talk to someone, you never have to make sure they are on that specific platform first, and it’s highly likely that have an email address as well.

GIF: "I love being independent"

Allows you to keep a record of your conversation

The last point I’m going to highlight today (because I could seriously go on forever about email) is that it is great for keeping a record of your conversations. Email gives you access to different folders together with your deleted and sent messages, you’ll never have to worry about something going missing. Most email providers have now also added different search features over the years as well, which will you save you time when having to look for that one message that was sent on that one day. Unlike other social networking and messaging applications, once the message is deleted or buried in the other hundreds of chats you have, it’s not always super easy to find those messages.

GIF: taking notes

Email ≠ Collaboration

So, I think we can all agree that email has been a huge player in the online communication community for decades now, and for good reason too. Email does a great job of maintaining the integrity of sending someone a letter, just on a different medium. This is why email has become such a big asset when it comes to one to one business communication.

All that being said, just like hand written letters, email was never intended to be a collaboration tool. The sole purpose was to foster one to one communication in a personal and secure way. For larger organizations trying to reach wide audiences, email becomes less effective since it is common for messages to get lost in the all the clutter that inboxes get now.

As technology advances, it’s important for businesses to advance as well in how we communicate in our organizations. There are some pretty amazing collaboration tools for businesses out there now and we encourage you to check them out!

Have more questions about communications tools? Contact us here, we’d love to chat with you!


By Katlin Walters

Katlin is a former IC team member.