Apps and Tools · September 6, 2016

communication graphic

Stop Sending Short Emails, Use Hangouts Instead

The featured image is a flickr photo by Joe The Goat Farmer shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license.


That word alone may make you break out into a cold sweat for one of two reasons: A) you’re always aware of it, or B) you’re behind on it.

Some studies are showing that email is one of the highest producers of anxiety in the workplace, and it has been since the early 2000’s. So, how do we curb our email?

This year, Elkhart teachers and students have access to Google Hangouts. It’s a video and text chat service linked to your Google account. Instead of firing off that one- or two-sentence email, consider sending a short chat message. Your recipients (yes, you can have group chats!) will be notified if they’re logged in, or they’ll see it next time they open up their Gmail window.

This trend isn’t new: journalist Clive Thompson wrote in 2010 about how texting is becoming the new normal even when a phone call is made later. Chat services like Hangouts (Slack is another immensely popular platform you may have heard of) are changing the way we communicate, especially at work.

Kat, Wes, and I are in a running group chat session every day. We get too many emails to even consider sending each other more mail. It helps us respond quickly to needs and it leaves a running record both in Hangouts and in your Gmail history so we can reference discussions just like we can reference old emails.

How can this help you work more effectively? What makes you nervous or excited about making a personal shift? Leave us a thought in the comments.