The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Email Communication In The Workplace

Anton Vdovin - Feb 18, 2020 2:04:00 PM

Email is still among the most widely used communication tools in the workplace today. However, while email is still the go-to medium for a lot of people, companies find that there are pros and cons of email for communications if they don’t take steps to ensure that it is being used efficiently and effectively and alongside other internal communications tools.


The Advantages of Email for Internal Communications

  1. Email is a free tool. Once you are online, there is no further expense that you need to spend on in order to send and receive messages.
  2. Email is quick. Once you have finished composing a message, sending it is as simple as clicking a button. Email, especially if an email system is integrated into the network, is sent, delivered, and read almost immediately.
  3. Email is simple. It is easy to use. Once your account is set up, composing, sending, and receiving messages is simple. Also, email allows for the easy and quick access of information and contacts.
  4. Email allows for easy referencing. Messages that have been sent and received can be stored and searched through safely and easily. It is a lot easier to go through old email messages rather than old notes written on paper.
  5. Email is accessible from anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection. Whether or not you are in the office or on the field, or even overseas, you can access your inbox and go through your messages.
  6. Email is paperless and therefore, beneficial for the planet. Not only can you reduce the costs of paper, you are actually reducing the damage paper usage does to the environment.
  7. Email allows for the mass sending of messages. An effective medium to utilize to get your message out there, you can send one particular message to several recipients all at once.
  8. Email allows for instant access to information and files. You can opt to send yourself files and keep messages so that you have a paper trail of conversations and interactions you have online, just in case you may need them in the future.

On the other hand, while internal email certainly has its advantages, it can also have disadvantages, especially if an email alert system is not available in the workplace.

disadvantages of email

The Disadvantage Of Using Email To Communicate For Internal Communications

  1. Email could potentially cause information overload. Some messages may be dismissed or left unread, especially if there are a lot coming in and the network has not integrated some sort of email alert system into the computers at work.
  2. Email lacks a personal touch. While some things are better off sent as written and typed messages, some things should be verbally relayed or written by hand in a note or letter.
  3. Email can be disruptive. Going through each email can be disruptive to work as it does require a bit of time. This disruption is decreased through the utilization of an email alert system.
  4. Email cannot be ignored for a long time. The thing with email is that it needs constant maintenance. If you ignore it, more and more messages will enter your inbox until it gets to the point that your inbox is no longer manageable.
  5. Email can cause misunderstandings. Because email does not include nonverbal communication, recipients may misinterpret the sender’s message. This is particularly true of senders fail to go through their messages before they send them.
  6. Email messages can contain viruses. It’s best to be aware of this possibility so that you are careful when opening messages from people you don’t know, or when downloading attachments.
  7. Email should be kept short and brief. This is especially difficult if you are one to send messages that are too long.
  8. Email requires timely responses. While some people tend to disregard messages, those that require responses should be replied to as soon as they are received and read. If not, urgent and important messages may be left untended.



Improving email communication in an organization

Love it or hate it, email communication in the workplace is probably here to stay for a long time to come. It doesn’t have to be the bane of corporate life if you take steps to make it work more effectively for your organization, recognizing the overall email advantages and disadvantages and including it alongside other internal communications tools and channels. Actively improving email communication will make it a much more valuable internal communications tool.

Effective email communication in the workplace is achievable if you set clear guidelines for employees about appropriate email use.

This includes:

• Minimizing the use of email when there is an email substitute that is a more effective option, such as having a face-to-face conversation with a colleague, using instant messenger, sharing ideas on a project platform, etc.

• Employees should be discouraged from hitting “reply all” or responding with unnecessary one-word emails like “ok” or “thanks”.

• Emails should only be sent to relevant employees.

• Restricting access to those who are able to send emails to the entire organization.

• Encouraging employees to adopt “inbox zero” or similar programs to cut down on their emails.

• Using clear subject lines that people can look at and instantly know what the topic of the email is going to be about.

• Email communication should be clear, concise, and easy to understand.

• Insisting on a standard of professionally written, proofread emails.

• Encourage employees to delete unnecessary emails and to set up good archival systems to hold on to important emails they may need in the future.

For urgent communications and in situations where it is critical that you have to ensure everyone sees the message you are sending, you can overcome the advantages of email in the workplace communication by using an alerting system, such as DeskAlerts, to bypass email and send messages straight to computers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the advantages of email communication?

Email offers a fast, efficient, and convenient way to communicate with others, allowing messages to be sent and received instantly from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Other benefits of email are that it provides a written record of communication that can be easily referenced and searched, helping to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. 

What are the disadvantages of email communication?

The disadvantages of using email to communicate for internal communications

  • Email could potentially cause information overload
  • Email lacks a personal touch
  • Email can be disruptive
  • Email cannot be ignored for a long time
  • Email can cause misunderstandings
  • Email messages can contain viruses

What are the advantages of using email for business communication?

Email is a powerful tool for business communication with many advantages. Firstly, it offers a fast and efficient means of communication, allowing messages to be sent and received in real-time from anywhere in the world. This is particularly important in today's globalized and interconnected business world. Email also provides a written record of communication, which can be easily accessed and referred to, helping to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. And by allowing for the attachment of files, images, and other digital media, email is a versatile tool for sharing information and collaborating with others. 

How has email changed the way we communicate?

Email has fundamentally changed the way we communicate, transforming the speed and reach of our interactions. In the past, communication was limited by time and distance, but with email, messages can be sent and received instantly from anywhere in the world. This has revolutionized business communication, making it easier to collaborate and share information across borders and time zones. Effective email communication has also transformed personal communication, allowing people to stay in touch with friends and family across long distances, while also providing a platform for sharing news, ideas, and opinions on a global scale.

Why is email not the best communication?

While email has many advantages, it also has some drawbacks that make it less than ideal for certain types of communication. Email lacks the nonverbal cues that we use to convey tone and emotion in face-to-face conversation, leading to misinterpretation and misunderstandings. The constant influx of emails can be overwhelming and distracting, leading to information overload and decreased productivity. And other email disadvantages are that it can be less personal and less effective than other forms of communication, such as phone calls or face-to-face meetings, particularly when dealing with sensitive or complex issues that require more nuanced communication.


This article was originally published in 2017. We’ve updated it with current information for 2020.

Topics: Improve Corporate Communication


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