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RIP Email: 43% of businesses plan to ‘scrap email’ as main source of employee communication due to Covid-19 lockdown

Four in 10 businesses are actively considering replacing email as the main source of communication with employees following the Covid-19 lockdown period. The findings are contained in a new poll commissioned by the Parliament Street think tank and conducted by independent survey Censuswide which quizzed 200 senior decision-makers in large and medium sized UK businesses about how the Coronavirus outbreak will impact working practices in the future.

A total of 43 per cent of respondents said they were ‘actively considering replacing email’ as the main form of employee communication, in favour of alternatives such as apps and instant messaging software. Meanwhile, 63 per cent said they had increased IT spending to make employee communications more user-friendly to keep staff updated about company developments and health and safety tips during the crisis.

Half of companies surveyed said that they plan to continue with a 100 per cent remote working model, even after the formal lockdown measures have been lifted and the country returns to normal. 61 per cent also said they are planning to overall their digital strategy to make flexible working more efficient for staff. Additionally, 64 per cent of business decision-makers said they were increasing digital skills training to keep staff up to speed with remote working.

58 per cent said they had offered staff mental health counselling via web conferencing systems since the crisis began. The same number said they had noticed a rise in mental health-related issues since the crisis began.

Sonny Sehgal, CEO & Co Founder, Transputec, 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, MD, Zoho Corporation added: “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.”