Email in the Time of the Coronavirus: How Teams Have Adapted to Remote Work

Author: Corina Leslie

March 19, 2020
Email in the Time of the Coronavirus: How Teams Have Adapted to Remote Work

A large number of teams have switched to remote work to help mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. How have employees adapted and what role has email been playing in the process? Let’s find out.

The coronavirus is forcing companies to adopt telecommuting

Our world has changed almost overnight.

The coronavirus outbreak is affecting communities around the entire globe. Stores, restaurants, airports, entire countries are shutting down.

Also, big tech companies have shifted to remote work in the attempt to “flatten the curve” – Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon are just a few examples.

First and foremost, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and wish you the best in this difficult time. Perhaps your employer allows you to work from home, or even enforces this precaution.

As #quarantinelife, #workingfromhome or #socialdistancing are now some of the most popular hashtags on social media, email keeps teams as connected as ever. We gathered proof from 13 people who have started working from home in the past couple of weeks.

Here’s what they told us about the way email helps them stay in touch with co-workers and clients.

coronavirus COVID-19

“We’d be completely lost without it.”

“Our company has always allowed remote work, but we are telling all staff members to work from home at this point in time,” says SellMax co-founder Sean Pour.

“We rely heavily on email. We’d be completely lost without it,” he adds.

“Our managers receive email updates from our staff outlining what that person did for the day, and what they intend to work on tomorrow. So, it’s very important to us as it keeps us focused on working on the right tasks. We do use Slack, but we like email for the summaries. In Slack it’s easy to lose track of things, while in email it’s right there in your inbox,” Pour says.

How often does he check his email?

“Probably more than I should. On average, at least once an hour. I send roughly 30 emails a day, and probably receive around 50. The volume does increase with remote work because you tend to get more questions than usual.”

“Email is a critical channel for our management and HR team.”

Dew Smith is a Brand Strategist at 7shifts and has recently started working from home.

“Email is very important for my daily work to communicate with other departments and external companies and stakeholders,” she says.

“It’s also proved as a critical channel for our management and HR team to provide us with updates on the COVID-19 situation and any protocol changes. While I generally use Slack for quick communication around the office, more important matters are generally communicated through email,” Dew told ZeroBounce.

How often does she check her email?

“I check my email every hour and have it pinned open in my browser. Emails remain high-priority to me, especially while navigating the uncertainty around coronavirus.”

teams working remote

“Email has taken on paramount importance for work communication.”

As the owner and CEO of social media agency Trusy Social, Dustin Vann says 90% of his team’s work is done online. That allows him to offer remote work to all of his staff.

Moreover, he now telecommutes every day to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection.

“Due to lack of in-person action, email has taken on paramount importance for work communication,” Dustin told us.

“We use it in alignment with Slack and this has helped us allow business as usual. Also, we use it to communicate with clients and keep them abreast of our working and opening hours during this health crisis,” he adds.

How often does he check his email?

“We have a company ethos for clients that any request will be responded to in four hours minimum. This allows the staff and I to check our inbox twice a day: in the morning and after lunch. This method stops it from becoming a distraction.”

“Ever since I’ve worked remotely, the number of emails I get has doubled.”

Anh Trinh is the Managing Editor at GeekWithLaptop, a media startup. He told us his business has been impeded by the novel coronavirus and that he chose remote work to avoid any risks.

“Being the CEO of my business, I don’t just allow remote work, I enforce it myself. I don’t want any of my employees to get sick. Also, I’ve been working from home every day since the coronavirus started,” he added.

As for email, Trinh says “it’s still important, especially when contacting potential clients or employees. So, if I’d rate how much I rely on email from a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it an 8.”

How often does he check his email?

“Four to six times a day. On average, I send about five to 10 emails a day and receive more or less the same number. But ever since I’ve worked remotely, the number of emails I get has doubled.”

email in the time of coronavirus

“I use e-mail for about 90% of my communications.”

David Wills is an Educational Consultant at TED-IELTS and, due to the spread of the coronavirus, he does all of his work via the internet now.

“I use e-mail for about 90% of my communications, and Facebook and Skype for the other 10%,” he says.

How often does he check his email?

“I have notifications coming from my inbox, so I don’t check it that often, but I’m constantly using it. I’d say that I receive about 60 emails per day, and this volume is probably up about 10 – 20% over pre-coronavirus times.”

“Email usage has significantly increased.”

As the owner and CTO of One Day Event Insurance, Zeshan Jeewanjee has allowed all employees to work from home.

“We use a VoIP phone system which helps our team communicate smoothly, but email usage has significantly increased due to coronavirus changing our work routines. It has been crucial to email employees and stay on top of my own emails to ensure our daily tasks are running without any roadblocks,” Jeewanjee told ZeroBounce.

How often does he check his email?

“During the first hour of my day I avoid checking my phone. Apart from that, I’m on my computer and phone, and check my email constantly throughout the day. Now I do it even more than usual to ensure I’m not missing out on any important messages from partners or employees.”

work from home email

“My business couldn’t function without it.”

Mason Roberts is the founder of Ringagement, a content platform that offers education and advice on buying jewelry. “As a small business owner that employs a team of 10 freelancers, the coronavirus has definitely had an effect on how my business functions,” he admits.

“I have the ability to work from home whenever I would like,” Roberts adds while acknowledging the importance of email during this time.

“Email is a basic building block of business. We have tons of online productivity tools nowadays, but email is a tried and tested tool that everyone is comfortable working with. It’s a universal form of communication. My business couldn’t function without it.”

Make sure your emails reach the inbox

How often does he check his email?

“Every 20-30 minutes throughout the day. Most of my day-to-day work involves managing a team of 10 freelancers, so quick and timely responses are crucial if I want business to move forward. I send/receive about 20 emails a day, but this number has increased since I started working at home.”

“Email is vital.”

Joe Robison is the founder of Green Flag Digital, a remote-first SEO and content marketing agency, and usually works from home half of the time.

“Email is vital,” he believes.

“When in the office with colleagues, face-to-face interactions allow for rapid training and information exchanges, but a lot is lost by not writing it down. I find email exchanges still being the best way to record conversations and planning for posterity,” Robison adds.

How often does he check his email?

“About five times an hour. When I’m in focus mode, I try to check less, but in management mode, it’s up to 10-15 times an hour. I typically receive 200 emails a day and send anywhere from 20-50. However, the volume has increased since working from home more often.”

global pandemic

“Because of the coronavirus, everyone’s required to work remote.”

Brian Robben, CEO of Robben Media, has sent his people home as health concerns started to arise.

“Because of the coronavirus, I told my entire team I don’t want to see their face until things settle down. Everyone’s required to work remote. Now I’m working from home every day of the week,” Robben told us.

“As a digital marketing agency owner, email already was a primary communication tool. Now email activity, along with Slack and video calls, has soared to take the place of in-person meetings.”

How often does he check his email?

“I used to check my inbox non-stop, at the top of every hour. Getting and sending hundreds of emails per day like I do has a special effect. Since working remotely, I decided to set aside three times in my calendar for email: morning, after lunch, and before ending work. This system is amazing for productivity. Not only does it relieve the urge to check my inbox, it helps me be more decisive in those email windows.”

 “Email has become my lifeline.”

Mark J. Grossman is a public relations consultant with a home-based office in Medford, NY.  He’s also an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College and Nassau Community College on Long Island in New York. 

Like many other entrepreneurs, Grossman is adapting his work to the current global status.

“My clients are holding fewer meetings and events, which means I’m working more from home than usual. Plus, Governor Cuomo has suspended face-to-face classes at all public colleges and universities in the state. That means I’ll spend more time at my home-based office doing online teaching with my students,” Grossman told us.

“Email has become my lifeline, not that it wasn’t already critical.  But it’s taken on additional significance both as a communications tool and as a way to monitor the news about the growing COVID-19 pandemic,” the PR consultant adds.

How often does he check his email?

“My inbox is always ‘on’ and I receive messages as they arrive – that’s always been my style. And I try to reply immediately to as many as possible. I probably process up to 200 emails – incoming and outgoing – on a typical day. I’ve seen a substantial uptick, in the range of 20%, in the past week. The majority of those are from companies and organizations informing stakeholders about steps they are taking to deal with the coronavirus.”

online communication during coronavirus

“We use email more than ever.”

Daniel Koychev, a staff writer at Clarity Wave, says the coronavirus has affected the company’s operations. As a result, the entire team is counting on email to communicate effectively.

“We’re heavily reliant on email in general, as it’s a convenient way to receive task notifications. Now that most of us are working from home, we use email more than ever for such purposes,” Koychev says.

How often does he check his email?

“Every 10 or 15 minutes or so – that’s the main way I receive my tasks. I don’t send that many emails, though, and the Coronavirus hasn’t changed this. Most of my work chats with colleagues are done through Slack.”

“I rely on emails for pretty much anything.”

As the Marketing Manager at Excel Template, Christian Antonoff says switching to remote work hasn’t been hard. Email has made the transition even easier.

“Working in the marketing and PR field means writing a large amount of emails on a daily basis. I rely on emails for pretty much anything – from contacting clients to communicating with partners and collaborating with colleagues. For my personal needs, I use only chat apps.”

How often does he check his email?

“Several times a day, as the amount of email varies. Usually, I send out about two to three dozen emails, and receive about the same amount. Honestly, the amount of emails sent and received has not changed for me since the coronavirus outbreak began.”

Related >>> Do you work in PR and marketing? Blair Nicole Housley of Media Moguls PR wrote about how the coronavirus affects digital marketers and PR pros.

email communication

How is the coronavirus affecting online entrepreneurs?

While brick-and-mortar companies are implementing special work policies during the global health crisis, not much has changed for online entrepreneurs.

Chanteuse Marie, founder and email conversion copywriter at Blockbuster Copy Co., says she’s always worked a lot from home.

“Before the pandemic, I’d work at cafés only when I felt like it. Most of the time I’d stay at home for days on end. Especially when I’m swamped with projects, I don’t want to waste time walking or commuting to a coffee shop. That’s why this whole social distancing thing is no biggie for online biz owners – at least not for me,” Chanteuse told us.

As she’s been able to carry on with her usual routine, she’s been using email the same way as ever.

“There were no changes in my email usage because it has always been the only way I communicate with everyone. I rely on emails for everything—from the initial contact with a prospect until the end of the project. I don’t do in-person meetings and the only time I hop on a call is during sales, kickoff, research interviews, and copy presentations,” the copywriter explained.

Email deliverability is essential to organizations worldwide

The volume of daily worldwide email traffic has exceeded 293 billion in 2019, according to The Radicati Group. With more people working remotely, that number has gone up in the last two weeks.

Furthermore, thousands of brands have been sending COVID-19 emails – some of them because they had to, others because they felt they had to participate in the global conversation.

More importantly, government and health organizations are sending constant updates on the rapidly-evolving state of the coronavirus pandemic. During these times, communication is critical, so reaching people’s inboxes is top priority.

As fluctuations in volume can affect email deliverability, consider verifying your email databases. This way, you’ll avoid bounces, spam complaints and other risks associated with poor email hygiene.

Want to see how ZeroBounce works? Give it a try!

How the coronavirus has changed our work at ZeroBounce

As some of you may know, our email validation service has offices in Florida), California, and Bucharest Romania. A team of 29 people works around the clock to serve more than 60,000 businesses across the world. Eighteen of our team members are Customer Support, Customer Success, and Sales specialists available for you 24/7 from day one.

In spite of the coronavirus threat, we’ve found ways to keep the engines running, so our service has been operating at full capacity.

ZeroBounce Chief Operating Officer

“Like almost the rest of the world, no one really saw this coming,” says Brian Minick, our Chief Operating Officer.

“But a while ago, we implemented a work from home policy to stay resilient for mainly hurricane season and employee flexibility. We’re happy that we easily made the call to let employees work from home for their comfort and safety. This measure was effective immediately and it allowed us to have zero downtime or service interruptions for our customers. They can still get the same level of quality service and support from our teams 24/7,” Brian adds.

“It’s important that not only our customers aren’t affected, but that our staff and team members remain safe and part of the solution, not the problem.”

Brian Minick

ZeroBounce CEO

ZeroBounce CEO Liviu Tanase, who manages several teams remotely, also emphasizes the necessity for isolation during the following weeks.

“People are at the core of our business, so we’ve taken early measures to prevent any risks. Knowing that our team is safe is a priority. Moreover, no one is stressed out about being exposed. The fact that they work remotely helps alleviate some of their anxiety, so our customers always get the best service we can offer,” Tanase added.

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