5 ways to boost your team productivity with shared inboxes

Organizations' obsession with team productivity

Over the years, "team productivity" is a term that's been thrown around and (ab)used by organizations worldwide. Every organization wants their teams to get things done as effectively and efficiently as possible—but a significant amount of employee time and energy is spent reading and responding to endless email threads, rather than actually getting work done.

And the worst part? Most of these threads don't even need to be opened in the first place!

Unintended interruptions like these hamper team productivity, and this eventually becomes just another work habit eating up valuable time. This is where shared inboxes play a pivotal role.

A shared inbox is a platform where multiple people on a team can access group emails at the same time, from each of their own accounts. Let's see how using a shared inbox tool for your team can boost your overall productivity at work.

Delegate work tasks 

The analytics team at Zylker is on the lookout for an experienced developer. They send an email to the HR team (hr-team@zylker.com) requesting a new hire. But the talent acquisition team working remotely has no clue who's going to take up this task. Two of them start making a post, while one has already posted the job description on their official job posting platform. Chaos and inconsistency follows, and they end up projecting a bad image of the company to potential candidates.

Usually, emails are task triggers, but the endless Cc, Bcc, and forwards mess up the entire process. Context is lost and important items get missed in the piles of emails. Everyone's inbox gets cluttered, and there's always the possibility of some employees having nothing to do while others end up overloaded.

With a shared inbox, you can clearly assign those emails to the correct person, and create much-needed transparency within teams. Shared inboxes allow you to delegate tasks clearly and ensure that the entire team is productive, thanks to a transparent and cohesive workspace.

Organize threads

Jake goes to work early on a Monday morning, hoping to beat the blues and start the week on a fresh note. He logs in to his account to see about a hundred new emails in his inbox. He opens each one of them and gets bogged down by the multitude of tasks he has for the week. He has little idea which tasks require immediate action and which can be put off for the moment. He hits the mental panic button and his productivity slumps.

Many employees focus on all their incoming emails, failing to prioritize the ones that require the most attention, getting lost in the ocean of tasks, and eventually attaining almost nothing by the end of it.

With a shared inbox—by following threads that are most important, by snoozing the threads that are of lower priority, and by archiving the finished ones—you can smartly streamline your tasks and achieve optimum results. You can even go a step further by neatly organizing your threads based on common topics under various tags, differentiating them with unique colors.

Automate workflows 

Emma is the product marketing manager of her team. Whenever she receives any blog-related tasks, she turns to Sam. She approaches Joel for social-media-related work tasks, assigns video work to Tina, and gives website tasks to Bryan. Every time she wants to assign these tasks, she has to manually email every team member, one at a time. She dreads having to do this monotonous task in the golden hours of the day.

On a typical workday, some of the day-to-day tasks will be repetitive and require the same actions to be taken over and over again. Doing those tasks manually drains your time and energy, stopping you from focusing on the things that actually require your effort.

With shared inboxes, you can create an automated workflow such that, when certain conditions are met, a trigger gets generated and the tool automatically takes care of the entire process, while you focus on the more important tasks at hand.

Avoid tab switching

Jane is a marketer. She receives an email that requires her to write an article with an EOD deadline. But she needs more clarity on certain aspects of the new feature, so she decides to approach the development team for it. She has the option of using various other third-party applications to chat with the team. After contemplating for a while, she decides to ping the development team on a personal chat application and get their input. Unfortunately, Jane wasn't able to clearly convey where she was stuck, and the developer wasn't able to fully grasp the core problem, as the context of the issue was completely lost on this siloed chat platform.

Often our work gets delayed because, when we get stuck with something and need assistance or help, we take it to another application. But the context of the conversation is missing, as the people viewing the problem have no idea as to what was happening in the thread previously.

With a shared inbox, you don't have to constantly switch tabs anymore. Facing a problem that requires consulting your teammates? Do it effortlessly by conducting internal discussions right next to your thread, where anyone involved can comment and make the process easier. This ensures that every member is aware of the entire context independently.

Think that contacting a person in your organization outside your team could get your questions answered? Just @mention the person and pull them into your thread. Composed an email draft and not sure whether the content is good enough? Share the draft with your team for their review and close it once it's sent. It's as simple as that!

Use templates

Mike works at Zylker Corporation. He sends an email to the payroll team, to check whether he's eligible for their monthly reimbursement claims scheme. Kylie, from the payroll team, starts drafting an email confirming the employee's eligibility for claiming his reimbursements. She's annoyed about having to type out the same reply every time an employee makes an eligibility request, and wonders why the company still does it this way.

With shared inboxes, predefined response templates allow you to save time by creating responses beforehand so that, when the need arises, you simply pick the template and send the email off. These come in handy when you have to type out the same content repeatedly. Similarly, you can create email signature templates to maintain consistency in the replies you're sending out. The entire team can use these signature templates, saving everyone valuable time and maintaining a consistent identity across emails.

Try these team productivity tips and let us know how it helped you and your team! Excited about shared inboxes? Try Zoho TeamInbox's 14-day free trial. Learn more about how to boost your team's productivity with Zoho TeamInbox. If you have any questions or feedback to share, feel free to email us at support@zohoteaminbox.com, or leave a comment below.



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