While there is much talk about remote working these days, office colleagues sitting centimeters away within the same space often let the keyboard do the talking, when it comes to co-workers. One can emphasize with them. After all, one has to get up, then walk, think about what to say, how to say it and then finally say it. Once the words have left the mouth, there is no going back. There is no backspace or ‘delete and replace message’ option in human mouths, yet.
On the other hand email is easier. You mostly use the fingers; and have various editing options around your communication, before it is delivered. You can even browse stuff online; mid-sentence, and sprinkle stuff in your email and appear clever; none of which is possible in verbal communication.
Emailing colleagues seem like a safer option than talking. There is limited possibility of going off tangent on the topic. Then there is the comfort of extended time; you do not have to respond immediately like in verbal communication. You can come up with a smart answer after quickly browsing stuff.
Having said that, it also means that it often takes 72 to-and-fro messages between colleagues to set up a 15-minute meeting amongst 5-6 colleagues. Then, who has not clicked on the ‘Reply-All’ button by mistake and screwed up things big time! Why can they not keep the ‘Reply-All’ button away from the ‘Reply’ button?
Workplace strategists globally are today talking about the merits of socializing amongst co-workers. New-age workplaces are designed to augment this. As more and more human work becomes creative, with robots taking over the analytical stuff, it is becoming increasingly important for humans to connect with fellow humans, in a, well, ‘human-way’. While the tone of an email can be easily misread, the unpredictability of actually talking to someone has a certain consoling quality during the daily grind. It is an opportunity to feel like a real human after staring at screens throughout the day.