We wake up with email, use it throughout the day and check it again just before bed. Some of us even keep up-to-date with our inboxes in the bathroom.
It's no wonder – our email addresses are so easily shareable and sending a message is free, so it becomes the default means of communication for most people.
But there are major downsides to the emails that have become so entrenched in our daily lives – we get overloaded by irrelevant CCs, noisy marketers and notifications we don’t care about. And the reality is that as genuine alternatives appear, email is nearing the end of its course.
This shift is being made possible by funding. Sensing a great opportunity, investors are throwing money into companies creating systems that will draw people out of their daily email routine. Sparrow, Mailbox, Boxer, Triage and Handle are just some of the firms that have caught the attention of venture capitalists recently.
One of the biggest downfalls of email is that inboxes are poorly organised, which has led a number of professionals seek out software to alleviate organisational woes. Task managers like Basecamp and Asana benefit meetings, reporting and browsing through a list of complete/incomplete tasks, but the tools don’t completely solve the problem.
Content management apps like Evernote, Box, Dropbox and Google Drive also help, but they aren’t communication-oriented. Meanwhile, workplace chat rooms like Slack are driving huge interest – the company drew 8,000 access requests in one day even before it was launched, and is now valued at $2.8bn (£1.8bn). But to really turn email on its head, an enterprise will require more than just a basic chat room.
The reality is that while solutions are being found for individual downfalls in email, nothing has been created that is a fully workable alternative for businesses... yet. Promising startups are beginning to appear, like Quip, which allows you to create a collaborative document from an email thread.
Time will tell if any of these new organisations create something that hits the mainstreasm, but in the long-run email can’t deliver us with what we need. We need better organisation and better management.