Email Is Where It's At

March 19, 2024
3 Minute Read

When I started my job at WebstaurantStore back in December of 2020, I was introduced to using Microsoft Teams as the primary method of digital communication. Having used email as the primary method at almost all of my previous jobs, 3 years in, I’m beginning to agree with the sentiment that maybe email is the better option.

Instant messaging, which is essentially what Teams (and Slack) allow for certainly has its uses, but sometimes I feel like the instant part is an issue. All too often we’re expected to get right back to whoever direct messaged you, or tagged you in a channel. This can make it so hard to keep your focus. There are times where I just want to mark myself away and put my head down and code, but there’s often the pressure to either not do that or the expectation that you don’t.

Email on the other hand doesn’t seem to have that same “immediate” response expectation. It often feels like when you send an email, if you get a response back in an hour or two you’re happy, and within a business day is good too. It feels like a more happy medium. I can check my email periodically throughout the day and respond as needed. Granted because of Teams, my email inbox is mostly just random alerts and nothing that I really have to respond to...🤷🏼‍♂️

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m advocating for ignoring your coworkers. That certainly won’t work either no matter the platform be it Teams/Slack, Email, phone or messenger pigeons. I do think it would be a good thing to loosen expectations of the timeframe in which you should have to respond. Basically what I’m asking for is let me get to a good stopping point or a good place to pause and I’ll get back to you.

I’ll also admit there are times where I realize I’m getting annoyed at people not responding to me “fast enough”. I can be just as guilty about it and I sometimes have to remind myself I can wait and that patience is a virtue. Very rarely am I ever involved in work that has to be done NOW. Granted, on those rare occasions, everyone’s around and ready to move on whatever the next step is.

At the end of the day, it’s about companies and people setting realistic and practical expectations. It’s about recognizing that for some, a ping at the wrong time can get someone out of their flow state, so while they might be “available”, their status is still set to busy. Having patience and understanding goes a long way...and so does email.