Tag Archives: Natter On

Could you go without internal email?

Is email bound up in the future of the way we work, or can new ways of working help us to share information more efficiently? Dyfrig Williams spoke to Lee Mallon of Rarely Impossible to find out.

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We all know the feeling of returning to work after a holiday to find a mountain of emails waiting for us. I always have a nagging feeling that I need to get to grips with my emails before I can start with the “real work” that I have in front of me.

My colleague Beth recently blogged about the recent review of our Randomised Coffee Trials, which pair people randomly to discuss the topic of their choice.

Alongside that, I’ve been taking part in LocalGovDigital’s Unmentoring, which is their version of Randomised Coffee Trials. In my latest discussion I had the chance to see if email really is a help or a hindrance by catching up with Lee Mallon of Rarely Impossible, who have ditched email for all internal correspondence.

Why chat about email?

Email has some issues, and a lot of that is down to behaviour. Whether it’s sending unsolicited emails or a dodgy use of the cc function to justify a sense of importance (check out Chris Bolton’s series of posts on bad email practice), a lot of the problems that come with email are down to us as users. The latest Natter On podcast gives a good account of both sides of the Email: good vs bad debate.

Another issue with email is that it tends to focus on work that specific individuals do rather than teams. That’s where tools like Slack can potentially help, as the format encourages people to work in teams. Tools like Trello can also help – why don’t we just log in and check the current state of play instead of sending a long series of email updates?

That’s not to say that changing the means of discussion is an answer in itself. Adopting a new tool comes with its own issues. People may not be particularly happy about having another source of communication to check, and an informal work tool like Slack (which comes with Emojis and GIFs) may be an anathema to some organisations’ working culture.

But if society is changing, and people’s expectations of public services are changing, do we as public service providers need to change too? A lot has already been written about how we can’t continue to communicate in the same way when using social media (including Helen Reynolds’ great post on psychopathy and social media). Can we really connect with communities when our day-to-day staff communications are inherently different? There are already signs that young people are choosing to communicate through apps instead of email.

What are Rarely Impossible doing?

I found my conversation with Lee really valuable. Not only was he happy to share his experiences over the phone, but he was also happy to share resources afterwards. It was fascinating to hear about the channels they were working through after 6 months, and their “1 year on post” is a fantastic “How to guide” for reducing your reliance on email.

And in case you think that it’s one thing for a private company to go email free and quite another for a public service, check out the work that’s taking place at Halton Housing.

Although email is our current default means of online office communication, we’re in a fascinating time where new tools are being developed all the time. If your organisation is thinking of ditching email, we’d love to hear from you so that we can share the learning from your experiences and whether it’s helping you to deliver better public services.

Allwch chi fynd heb e-bost mewnol?

Ai e-bost yw’r dyfodol o fyd gwaith, neu gall ffyrdd newydd helpu ni i rannu gwybodaeth yn fwy effeithlon? Siaradodd Dyfrig Williams i Lee Mallon o Rarely Impossible i gael gwybod.

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Rydyn ni gyd yn gwybod y teimlad o ddychwelyd i’r gwaith ar ôl gwyliau i ffeindio mynydd o negeseuon e-bost. Rydw i wastad yn cael y teimlad bod angen i mi fynd i’r afael â’r negeseuon hynny cyn i mi ddechrau gyda fy “ngwaith go iawn”.

Yn ddiweddar, blogiodd fy nghydweithiwr Beth am yr adolygiad diweddar o’n Treialon Coffi ar Hap, sy’n paru pobl i drafod y pwnc o’u dewis.

Ochr yn ochr â hynny, rydw i wedi bod yn cymryd rhan yn Dadfentora LocalGovDigital, ei fersiwn nhw o’r Treialon Coffi ar Hap. Yn fy nhrafodaeth ddiweddaraf cefais gyfle i glywed os oedd e-bost yn wir yn gymorth neu’n rhwystr trwy ddal i fyny gyda Lee Mallon o Rarely Impossible, sydd wedi rhoi’r gorau i e-bost ar gyfer cyfathrebu mewnol.

Pam trafod e-bost?

Mae gan e-bost ychydig o broblemau, ac mae lot ohonyn nhw achos ein hymddygiad ni. Efallai bod pobl yn anfon negeseuon e-bost i bobl sydd ddim wedi gofyn amdanynt, neu ryw ddefnydd amheus o gopïo pobl i e-bost i gyfiawnhau teimlad o bwysigrwydd (cewch gipolwg ar flogiau Chris Bolton ar arferion e-bost drwg), mae lot o’r problemau yn deillio o ni fel defnyddwyr. Mae’r podlediad Natter On diweddaraf yn rhoi ystyriaeth i ddwy ochr y ddadl e-bost: da v drwg.

Problem arall gydag e-bost yw ei fod yn tueddu i ganolbwyntio ar waith unigolion yn hytrach na thimau. Dyma le y gall offer fel Slack helpu o bosibl, gan fod y fformat yn annog pobl i weithio mewn timau. Gall offer fel Trello helpu hefyd – pam nad ydyn ni’n mewngofnodi i checio’r sefyllfa yn lle anfon cyfres hir o ddiweddariadau e-bost?

Dyw hwn ddim i ddweud bod newid y dull yn ateb ynddo’i hun. Mae mabwysiadu teclynnau newydd yn dod â materion hefyd. Mae’n bosib na fydd pobl yn arbennig o hapus am gael ffynhonnell arall o gyfathrebu i checio, ac ydy dull cyfathrebu anffurfiol fel Slack (sydd gyda Emojis a GIFs) yn anathema i ddiwylliant gweithio rhai sefydliadau?

Ond os mae cymdeithas yn newid, ac mae disgwyliadau pobl o wasanaethau cyhoeddus yn newid, oes yna angen i ddarparwyr gwasanaethau cyhoeddus newid eu ffordd o weithio hefyd? Mae lot wedi cael ei ysgrifennu am sut na allwn ni barhau i gyfathrebu yn yr un modd (gan gynnwys blogbost grêt Helen Reynolds ar seicopathi a chyfryngau cymdeithasol). A allwn ni wir cysylltu â chymunedau mewn modd priodol pan mae ein ffordd ni o gyfathrebu yn hollol wahanol? Mae yna arwyddion yn barod bod pobl ifanc yn dewis cyfathrebu trwy apps yn lle e-bost.

Beth mae Rarely Impossible yn gwneud?

Dyma pam roedd fy sgwrs i gyda Lee mor werthfawr. Roedd e’n hapus i rannu ei brofiadau dros y ffôn, ac roedd e hefyd yn hapus i rannu adnoddau ar ôl hynny. Roedd e’n hynod o ddiddorol i glywed am y sianeli roedd Rarely Impossible yn gweithio trwyddo ar ôl 6 mis, ac mae eu blogbost “1 flwyddyn ar ôl y newid” yn ganllaw wych ar leihau eich dibyniaeth ar e-bost.

A rhag ofn eich bod chi’n meddwl bod e’n un peth i gwmni preifat i fynd heb e-bost a peth hollol wahanol i wasanaeth cyhoeddus, edrychwch ar beth sy’n digwydd yn Nhai Halton.

Er mai e-bost yw’r ffordd rydym yn cyfathrebu ar-lein yn fwyaf aml yn y swyddfa, rydym mewn cyfnod lle mae dulliau ac offer newydd yn cael eu datblygu drwy’r amser. Os yw’ch mudiad yn ystyried ffyrdd o fynd heb e-bost, byddai fe’n grêt i glywed o chi fel y gallwn ni rannu’r dysgu o’ch profiadau ac i glywed os yw’n helpu chi i ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus gwell.