You would think that in today's age of computers in the workplace, the most basic form of work place communication -- that being E-mail -- would be the most effective form communication with colleagues. After all, this is an age of omnipresent technology, where you can access your work email from your notebook, pc, work mobile phone/blackberry/iphone, VPN from home ... and you can do so when you become available. That is, you can't "miss" it, because you're not in a meeting -- it's just there once that meeting is done.
However, on my current contract, it seems I am sending email to the Gliesa 581 system, as I never get an immediate reply and I almost always have to do a "manual" walk over to the persons at hand to get the information I need. In addition, I've started to email with just itemized points (no long winded sentences like my blog, clusters of chaff .. just to the point). A majority of the time these emails only require a "yes" or "no" answer. I still don't get it.
I have tried the "I will assume this is true if you don't reply" type emails, but they don't work either. I've been in meetings and burned some people, and that's not my intention as a contractor. (VP asks XYZ, I say ABC, Engineer says it's not that way, I retort I emailed them and they agreed because they didn't reply, Engineer gets roasted by VP for not replying) Of course, sometimes, I have to open a can of whoop a$$ (keeping in mind, I'm usually brought in when the locals aren't doing their job, dragging their feet, or unable to complete the tasks at hand). Oorah!!! :P
Anyway, it seems I have to continue sending emails and doing a manual follow-up -- wasting time as I walk around the building looking for people. It seems email is a big waste of time, but needed -- but the real question is, is there anything else on the horizon that will replace it? IM can work, but people never answer those either. Ideas? How about a cruel "Star Rating" system for your colleagues at work? (Don't email David, he has a 3 star rating for replies, so you know you'll have to go find the guy) That would be awesome. ;-)