The largest living generation in the US – millennials – amounted to roughly 33% of the U.S. workforce in 2015. This group grew up in a rapidly changing technological environment, which made their perceptions and priorities different from those of Baby Boomers and Generation X.
As the first digital natives, millennials are used to constantly being connected. We prize access over formal means of communications such as email. It is no surprise that their habits have transferred into the work environment as well.
A 2015 study conducted by Dimensional Research found that professional millennials prefer chat or text as a means of collaboration. They are not only familiar with these tools but are experts at collaborating using chat or text.
The millennial generation is also considered to be better at collaboration than their predecessors. This is credited to their ability and proficiency at the use of technology for interaction and getting work done.
Unsurprisingly, millennials do not enjoy collaborating using email. Email has long been hailed as the most efficient way to communicate; however, there has been a decline in its use in recent years. One reason for this decline is the increasing number of millennials joining the workforce.
Here are some reasons that lie behind millennials’ hesitance at the use of emails as a preferred platform for collaboration.
1. Clutter and spam
Organizing and keeping track of emails can be a hassle. The number of emails you have to manage grows with the number subscriptions and correspondences you have.
Sifting through daily newsletters, spam messages, promotional content, and simple daily salutations in order to locate important correspondence becomes a chore.
According to a French IT company that tried to remove email as a means of collaboration, only 10 percent of daily emails employees received were considered useful. Email as a collaboration platform has become obsolete, and millennials were the first to kick this platform to the curb.
2. Email is simply not efficient
Millennials are used to getting instant responses to their queries. The time lag between a sent email and its reply has the ability to make anyone impatient.
Imagine sending an email for an urgent query. Thirty minutes later, a millennial waiting for a reply would be tearing their hair out. While funny to imagine, a more likely scenario is that the average millennial would have used other means of communication after a two-minute wait.
In a recent study, Dimensional Research found that employees find methods by which to collaborate, even at the risk of security. Only 28 percent of the millennials surveyed said that they consider data security when sharing work.
Sharing information quickly is a priority for millennials.
3. Compromised productivity
Email has become an outmoded tool of communication. Issues like inbox overload matter to all generations.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the average employee spends 13 hours each week just reading and responding to emails. The loss of productivity this implies would be unacceptable to millennials. Millennials like to work quickly and efficiently. They work to find a way to circumvent anything that hinders productivity.
Millennials are innovative. Many prefer using online tools such as free online task management software and project management software to improve productivity. Similarly, they also prefer using these tools for communication and collaboration.
Dimensional Research found that 83 percent of respondents in a recent study stated that they depend on technology for effective collaboration. Similarly, 8 percent said that they would be impacted by the loss of collaboration technology.
Clearly, millennials rely on online productivity tools such as nTask for collaboration.
4. Emails are a thing of the past
Previous generations preferred using email for communication. These generations enjoyed the formality and official nature of the email platform. However, with the increase in millennials in the workplace, email has been replaced with other collaborative tools.
Millennials prefer their communications to be well-organized. Millennials prefer using online task management tools such as Asana and nTask to keep all important and task-relevant information in one place. Unlike emails, these platforms make it easy to find relevant information.
These tools also allow employees to stay connected. According to Dimensional Research, 98 percent of connected employees collaborate.
5. Rise of the mobile for millennials
According to a Nielson study, more than 85 percent of millennials own smartphones. SDL found that millennials touch their phones an average of 45 times per day. Thus, for millennials, communication is easiest if done using smartphones.
Emailing using smartphone applications is a cumbersome business. Conversely, many project management software use a mobile-first approach for the convenience of their users.
The increasing role of mobile devices in daily lives means that they have gained importance in our professional lives as well. According to Dimensional Research, 49 percent of respondents said that they use mobile devices for collaboration.
While email used to be the preferred tool for business collaboration, other online productivity tools seem to be taking its place.