How cloud computing can help remove the email threat

November 20, 2014

One of the most highly touted benefits of email has always the boost to productivity employees and managers can get by the always on nature of this mode of communication. We think of email as a productivity enhancer, but as it turns out, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Even in the smallest companies hundreds of emails get sent every day, both internally and externally. We often think it's not a big problem: You read emails as they come in, respond accordingly and then move on with your day. But according to some well-established research on the subject, it might not be that simple.

How email affects everyone
The workplace, for the most part, seems like a fairly nonthreatening environment. In spite of the absence of threats to our physical being, however, we still have one thing that sets off a subconscious fight or flight response. That thing is email.

CloudTweaks reported that its not as simple as just opening an email, dealing with its content and then moving on. In short, research shows that anything that comes with unknowns sets off a subconscious threat response that throws the nervous system off – even something as simple as an email. In dealing with this "threat" from the unknown, the brain actually redirects oxygen and nutrients to dealing with this fight or flight response. After the threat has been neutralized, the brain takes anywhere from five to 10 minutes to return to its normal, unagitated state.

How the cloud can remove the email threat
In the early days of the BYOD workplace, it's already become apparent that employees value being able to work on their terms – when and where they want. A constant barrage of emails takes this away from them and puts them on the defensive, lowering productivity and interrupting workflows. Allowing employees the freedom to work at their convenience and then taking it away from them by inundating them with emails does nothing to improve productivity.

As CloudTweaks noted, cloud-based collaborative apps are changing the way employees communicate and work together. In many collaboration apps, communication is done in a cascading form – like the comment section on a blog post or message board. The Guardian noted that even simple apps like Evernote and Basecamp can do wonders for facilitating teamwork in a way that is congruent with the promise of a BYOD workplace.

This means that employees can leave and enter conversations and workflows as they see fit, rather than reacting to everything out of reflex, making them more relaxed and putting workflows back in their hands.