Email vs. Messaging Systems: Tech Experts Weigh In: Online messaging systems have taken the world by storm. Not only do people use them to communicate in their personal lives, but also in the workplace. Systems like Slack, Google Chat, and Workplace by Facebook have made quick communication with coworkers so much easier.
Email vs. Messaging Systems: Tech Experts Weigh In
However, despite the implementation of these systems, email still remains the primary communication method for many workplaces. So what are the pros and cons of each method? Five tech experts share their thoughts.
Because it’s an older technology, some people may think that email is less secure, therefore choosing messaging apps instead. However, tech innovator and entrepreneur Thierry LeVasseur has patented some technologies that could change their minds. “In some of the solutions that I have patented,” he says, “email can be transmitted in a secure manner and can be tracked as well. In addition, there’s a way for users to view data about the email messages before opening them, which can help users avoid opening malicious messages or attachments.” Messaging systems are, in reality, equally secure (or even less so) as email because they usually require email integration.
One of the main reasons that people choose messaging apps over email, though, is its efficiency. Most of us follow a formal, letter-style format when composing work emails. On the other hand, writing short responses is perfectly acceptable on messaging systems. According to Jack Turner, Content Manager at Tech.co, “By its nature, Slack creates a dialogue, instead of a diatribe. The platform lends itself to short sentences back-and-forth within a group.” He adds, “Questions are quickly answered, and decisions are made swiftly, all without pages of emails with an increasing number of people all copied in.”
An unexpected benefit of messaging systems is that they create an archive that helps onboard new employees in an informal way. Rav Dhaliwal, Head of Customer Success for EMEA for Slack, notes that messaging channels provide new hires with “a giant searchable archive of institutional knowledge, available to all.” Opening up an empty email inbox may feel isolating to a new employee, but they can get a feel for both company culture and work-related information by reading through past messages between coworkers.
While messaging systems are great for answer quick questions or sharing small bits of information, email is more effective when you need to communicate something larger. If a workplace uses both forms of communication, “email will start to take on outsize importance and typically be reserved for more serious issues and communications,” according to Venture For America, a fellowship program for college grads hoping to become entrepreneurs. Attaching documents, having serious conversations, and requesting an action all work better through email, as they require more attention.
Because workers are constantly “connected” today, keeping their professional and personal lives separate is harder than ever. While checking emails while on vacation has become a stereotype of a workaholic, apps like Slack make the divide even hazier. PR professional Stephanie Quigley shares that frequent messages gave her “anxiety.” She says, “nothing triggers alarm bells like when you receive a message from your team or boss after work hours.” Easy, 24/7 access to work messages has shifted the rules around boundaries in some workplaces. This applies to email but even more to instant messaging apps.
Both email and workplace messaging systems have their good and bad aspects. Perhaps the best solution is to use both, while figuring out which communications are appropriate for which platform.