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The most successful startups this decade will embrace a new era of collaboration

It’s time to say goodbye to email and hello to a new era of collaboration. For the past 50 years, email has reigned supreme as the number one communication and collaboration solution for startups to Fortune 500 companies. Email is the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you glance at before bed. Not to mention, it’s the work solution you check most often throughout the day. An Adobe study found that Americans check their work email at least three hours per day. What was once created to improve collaboration and productivity is actually becoming a productivity killer. 

Since the first email was sent in the ‘70s, the complexities surrounding work have become much more complex. There are now enormous amounts of data, systems, applications, workflows, and more floating around, which makes it harder to keep track of the day-to-day. Before today’s digital era, business leaders could plan out huge projects three months, six months, a year in advance. The world has become so volatile that everything can change in an instant — as we all witnessed at the start of 2020.  

You have to ask yourself — is a tool that was developed 50 years ago really the most efficient way to conduct and manage business today? 

Say goodbye to email 

When email was first introduced, it revolutionised the business landscape by overcoming geographical limitations and making communication much more efficient. Messages and files between colleagues no longer had to be hand delivered, communicated via phone, or sent in the post. Instead, they could be sent and received almost immediately anywhere around the world. All it took was a computer. Thus, email became one of the biggest breakthroughs in terms of communication.  

As that same Adobe study shows, email has become overused, overtired, and, in some cases, it has even become a direct threat to overall productivity. Email also presents challenges when it comes to effective collaboration between individuals, teams, departments, and entire organizations. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that we think about the concept of ‘work.’ As we continue to move away from full-time office-based interaction and towards a hybrid environment, employees must maintain an online presence and be reachable, regardless of where they are based. They must also have visibility into their team’s work, as well as their departmental and organizational goals — and reciprocate that visibility. Instant — yet structured and effective — communication is more important than ever and becoming a modern, agile organization is a dream worth chasing.   

However, for many companies, email stands in the way of this dream. Threads between multiple recipients are complex, making them difficult and tedious to manage. It can also be frustrating to track down specific information quickly, which becomes an issue if any tasks or questions are time sensitive. Although abandoning email isn’t in the cards just yet for many, the transition away from email is entirely possible in this decade. There’s no doubt that this new reality of work calls for new collaboration technologies and, as a startup primed for hypergrowth, there’s no better time to start adopting them than today. 

Become a modern, agile startup  

Image Credits: Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash (opens in a new window)

Recent research by Wrike discovered that the most engaged — and therefore productive — employees cite the ability to collaborate well with their colleagues (42%) as the second reason why they’re so engaged. While the work, in general, remains the same, the ability to collaborate has seen a shift in recent years and, even more noticeably, in recent months. Companies need to ensure that their employees are able to remain connected and have instant, easy visibility into the work being done, especially when working remotely. Three hours a day later, it’s clear that email is no longer getting the job done. This is where collaborative work management (CWM) solutions come in.   

CWM technologies not only allow for instant communication and collaboration, they bring defined processes to every single task and project. They are a digital assembly line for all aspects of work and keeping associated documents and information about assignments together. The nature of CWM solutions is to create a single source of truth for companies, eliminate silos, and streamline work between teams to ensure that everyone is on the same page, no matter where they are working from. The ability to keep all communication and documentation in one place also reduces the need to trawl through thousands of emails in order to get up to speed on work in play. Context and conversations are ordered chronologically so employees can find any proof points they need with ease.   

These technologies can enable an instant level of communication, while also allowing employees to switch off when they need to. As most of us know by now, constant email notifications can easily become overwhelming. Who hasn’t opened up an email and spent an hour responding when there are other, higher priorities to sort out? Daily notifications aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but a work management solution can help minimize notifications by streamlining processes and keeping work in one place.  

Yes, email has undoubtedly served us well, but its 15 minutes (or should we say half a century) of fame are drawing to a close. As we emerge from the pandemic and into a new future of work, the most successful startups will be those that continue to streamline processes and collaboration. Newer technologies — such as collaborative work management platforms — will bring the modern, agile startup to life. It’s time to say goodbye to email and hello to collaboration.