At the Harvard Business Review, Atlantic Media CTO Tom Cochran laments how email actually costs his company much more than he believed, in both time and money.
By calculating average typing speed, reading speed, response rate, volume of email, average salary, and total employees, we were looking at a seven-figure price tag to quantify our email pollution.
The solution? A mix of an open office plan and the adoption of other media:
During the arc of my career, the amount of email noise was often inversely correlated with the availability of alternate communication channels, as well as an organization’s relative digital literacy. I’ve also found that an open office plan decreased overuse of email, since removing the physical barriers to communication dramatically lowers email reliance.
These traits were all present in our outlier group. They had an open and egalitarian office, with no individual offices. Every screen had an array of windows open — Skype, GChat, Campfire, Dropbox, Yammer, and Google Docs — the right technology for the right situation. And, the team was staffed with digitally savvy employees, most of whom have lived half of their lives plugged into the Internet.
This is what a digital office should be.