Has COVID-19 put a stop to emails being main use of communication at work?

Under half of UK businesses are ‘actively considering replacing email’ as their main source of communication with employees following the COVID-19 lockdown.

Research conducted by Parliament Street, a think tank found that 43 per cent are thinking about using apps or instant messaging instead of emails post COVID-19 lockdown life.  Still, 63 per cent are planning to increase their IT spending to make employee communication more user-friendly, in order to keep employees updated about company developments as well as health and safety tips during the pandemic.

Half of the businesses have said once the virus passes they are 100 per cent committed to remote working. Also, 61 per cent have stated they are planning to change their digital strategy to make flexible working more efficient for their workforce.

As well as, 64 per cent saying they are increasing their digital skills training to ensure their staff are up to date with remote working.

Companies have also tried to bolster their wellbeing commitments to their teams as 58 per cent are offering mental health counselling via web conferencing systems since the crisis began.  With the same number noticing that their teams have been dealing with mental health issues since the pandemic started.

Sonny Sehgal, CEO & co-founder, Transputec a managed IT service, said:

The Coronavirus crisis has forced business leaders to completely rethink their approach to IT resourcing, with the majority under pressure to quickly adapt to widespread remote working and digital collaboration in a very short space of time.

These findings also underline the reality that even after social distancing measures are lifted, many companies expect to continue to operate substantial remote working schemes in the future and we see this within our growing client base. It is therefore clear that getting access to the latest managed services, cloud and helpdesk support is critical for businesses looking to make a cost-effective recovery. By embracing IT as an enabler of workplace change, forward-thinking businesses will be able to move forward swiftly, empowering a new generation of staff through flexible and productive working practices.

Sridhar Iyengar, managing director, Zoho Corporation an Indian software development company said:

There will always be a purpose for email in the workplace. However, it is now one of many tools to communicate and people can decide which is best to use based on the context of what they are trying to achieve.

Other tools include cloud-based communication channels such as real-time chats, which can be included within documents that employees are working on collectively, and other applications that enable more efficient communication and collaboration. With remote working more widespread than ever, it is inevitable that these new communication methods, which instigate faster decisions, more streamlined processes, and instant approvals, are superseding email in many cases as preferred tools for employee communication. Not all communication is needed to be in real-time, but these other channels can do a better job of replicating the speed of in-person office work when more timely responses are required.

In order to gather these results, Parliament Street and survey consultants Censuswide spoke to 200 senior decision-makers in large and medium-sized UK businesses.