Do you remember when email was a fun and wonderous new way to communicate? No? This may be because of your age, or because you’ve simply been beaten to a pulp by endless ‘reply to all’ messages, or email marketers (often starting with: ‘I know you must be very busy, but…’ or ‘God bless you my dearly beloved…after years of battling illness, my husband died bequeathing me his fortune of…’)
After years of banging away on email, at Just Health and Safety we’ve realized that our emails often end up in a long list of emails in an in-box, all of which opened and then quickly closed with the thought ‘…maybe later’
If any of our Clients get around to taking a proper look at it then there may be a file to open…save…maybe as a different version…read…maybe annotate with comments…save…compose an email…re-attach etc.
So it is understandable that this can be an unpalatable use of time, and it’s left up to the Consultant to think of ways to stimulate real interaction.
We have therefore subscribed to an online collaboration platform which we can use to interact with Clients.
Messages sent within the program obviously are visible by both parties when they log in, and crucially get sent by email to the Clients inbox – by clicking on the email link, we’re straight back into the program where everything is sitting there (current and previous discussions/comments/files/actions) and, unlike an isolated email is ‘in context’.
The result is that our Clients have one portal where they can go to see all of the communications, discussions, decisions, files etc., rather than have to trawl through the history of received emails and file attachments. There are, of course, supporting apps available on iPhone and Android which are very well set out and useful.
An added benefit is that they will also be able to see how progress is being made over the whole year (for Clients on a retainer with us) i.e. visits made by the consultant, documents produced, and overall progress made. This is useful for seeing overall value-for-money, but could also potentially be used to defend a claim of negligence in managing H&S – as we’ve written before, everything should be done proportionate to the risks and this would be a neat way of showing that the company/organization was making continued efforts to make things safer and healthier.
The program is free for our customers to use and is starting to take hold in our customer base – even people who were very ‘paper-based’ are beginning to see that a change from the old ways of working is long overdue.