10 ways a social intranet cuts down on email

Inboxes become overloaded, and sometimes important messages get overlooked. One intranet software company offers solutions for common tasks.

Social intranets can help facilitate communication. The ability to connect with others through the intranet reduces our reliance on email. Besides, we lose a significant amount of time and productivity every day because we have to process so much email.

I’m going to show that many things you accomplish with email can be done more efficiently using internal social networking applications.

I think these apps often do an even better job than emails, especially if you want immediate response or better archiving.

1. Task: Follow up on a report.

Instead of sending email, send an instant message.

Your message will pop into your co-worker’s screen and get their attention immediately. They can respond much more quickly via IM than through email. And you’re not taking up additional memory in your company servers.

2. Task: Get comments on a draft document.

Instead of emailing the draft document, upload it into a folder.

Emailing drafts back and forth can get confusing very quickly. Soon, nobody knows which document is the most updated version. Or you all work on the draft at the same time, and then somebody has to merge everyone’s revisions into one document.

Instead of all that nonsense, upload the draft to your intranet. Each person takes turns checking out the document and revising it. A good intranet platform will keep track of different versions of a document, so you know when changes are made and by whom, and you can revert to a previous version if needed.

3. Task: Get a design approved.

Instead of emailing it, upload the images to an intranet photo album.

Colleagues can post their comments on designs for marketing materials. Supervisors can click on an approve or disapprove button, and you can keep track of who has reviewed the designs.

4. Task: Brainstorm on a product or strategy.

Instead of emailing ideas back and forth, start a discussion forum.

Capture everybody’s inputs in one forum thread. Got a photo, video or slideshow to share? Post it there as well.

5. Task: Collaborate on a presentation.

Instead of emailing contributions, create a wiki.

Everyone involved can type their suggestions directly onto one document. Embed rich media for a more engaging presentation.

6. Task: Tally team members’ votes on possible conference venues.

Instead of sending email, create an intranet poll.

It’s hard to keep track of votes via email. Instead, make it as easy as clicking a button, and see and share results in real time.

7. Task: Find a common free time for a team building activity.

Instead of asking for everyone’s available dates by email, use the intranet calendar.

If those involved use a common calendar, finding a common free time slot takes a quick glance. If you’re using separate calendars, you can merge them into one master calendar.

8. Task: Share links to websites your team members should be reading regularly.

Instead of emailing the links, create a links page on the intranet.

No more hunting for important links. The links page is always accessible in the intranet, and they’re hyperlinked so your team members can easily go to the relevant websites.

9. Task: Share a slideshow presentation.

Instead of emailing it as an attachment, upload your slideshow in Slideshare. Then, use the HTML code to embed it in your intranet status update.

Your colleagues can view the entire slideshow right in your status, and they can post comments there as well. Another option is to embed the slideshow in your intranet profile page so it’s always available and searchable.

10. Task: Document and share your thoughts on an industry event.

Instead of writing an email about the event: Publish your experience in an internal blog. If you emailed your content, people can easily delete it, or leave it to read later—until it gets buried by other emails and is soon forgotten. If you publish it in your intranet blog, your colleagues can post their own comments. It will come up in relevant searches. It’s archived in the intranet for future reference and discussion.

These are just 10 ways you can reduce internal email by using internal social media, such as Noodle. Can you think of other ways to get your work done better without using email? Share your ideas below.

Alexis Rodrigo is Web Content Producer at Vialect, creator of the social intranet software, Noodle. A version of this article first appeared on the Noodle blog.

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