• United States

Mailbag: E-mail to all workers

Dec 18, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Your thoughts on providing e-mail services to non-traditional workers

My recent article on providing e-mail to workers who traditionally have not been provided with this capability drew a number of responses, a sample of which follows:

One reader agreed with the article but added: “The context of your article seemed to imply that PCs were the only platform of choice to reach non traditional users.  Just a thought, but among other things my cell phone has its own e-mail address and Web site (through the provider).  It browses the Internet [using the Wired Equivalent Privacy security standard], both sends and receives e-mail, [and] besides instant messaging, it takes pictures and records sounds, and it knows where I am and can share that [information] and it’s telephonic, too.  Why wouldn’t some future cell phone descendant become a platform for non-traditional users with e-mail as the intermediary method of communication?”

Another reader said the current infrastructure could be used to provide e-mail services to more of the workforce. “The thought occurs that a wild, virgin area already exists to implement…e-mail to employees at a near zero equipment cost.  Most large retail stores are computerized for check-out, networked back to a server and send/receive data on a daily basis. Simplistically, add an e-mail procedure – considerably less involved than when scanners and credit card readers were added.”

One reader believes that short-term changes in the workplace will dramatically increase the advantages of allowing almost all workers to have access to an (asynchronous) information exchange medium like e-mail. ” As job duties become more creative and less repetitive, the value of access to information exchange increases. As education level of the employee increases, the ability of the employee to effectively use technology tends to increase.  Also, as technology becomes more user friendly, the ability of the employee to effectively use technology tends to increase.  Because changes like those I describe are changing the way we work, access to information exchange will increase.  This increase will be driven by the fact that information exchange will add value to work, reduce the cost of that work, or both.”

Another reader wondered about the cultural aspect of introducing e-mail services to non-traditional users: “I’ve found that a lot of people who aren’t used to expressing themselves with written language may feel inhibited by e-mail.  I notice that salespeople, people who talk for a living, like the utility of e-mail, but are much more likely to get on the horn, even for routine matters.  I think the anxiety about the expense of providing e-mail to non-traditional e-mail users is compounded by the concern that they may not use it.”

Thank you to everyone who responded to the article.