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Making email work harder

The first email was sent over 40 years ago, yet email is still a fundamental part of doing business. In fact the number of emails we receive can be overwhelming: dozens or even hundreds a day. It's great to find ways to cut down, so we can concentrate on real work. 

Email chains often form part of the document editing process, but really they shouldn't. Email is a communications medium, not a way of keeping track of document changes and feedback.

So if you change your document editing workflow, you could cut down on a lot of unnecessary emails. Dropbox for Business lets you do that, in these three ways:

1. Sharing folders of files with everyone on your team 

Using the Dropbox for Business website or app, you can share a folder with other Dropbox users. You can limit this to members of your team or you can choose to share with a wider group of people.

The big advantage here is that every changed file will be instantly updated in everyone's Dropbox account. Whatever device they're using, they will always see the most up-to-date version of every document. It happens as soon as you press 'Save'.

So now there's no need to email everyone in your team when you update a document. And you don't have to re-download a new version every time someone else makes a change. Every document is up-to-date and in one place – for everyone.

2. Using the Dropbox Badge on Microsoft Office documents 

Dropbox for Business integrates closely with Microsoft Office. This can dramatically improve the workflow of you and your team. Here's how it works.

The Dropbox Badge appears on the right-hand side of the screen whenever you're working on a Microsoft Office document that's stored in your Dropbox account. If the document is in a shared folder, the Badge will let you know if someone else opens it while you have it open.

This makes it easy to avoid making conflicting changes. It also allows you to reload the latest version of the document. That's handy if someone else has made changes and you want to see what they've done.

Working this way cuts down on yet more document-related emails. For example, imagine three people making changes at the same time, with emails bouncing back and forth to reconcile their changes. Using the Dropbox Badge ensures that nobody has conflicting copies of the document. So the copy on your device is always the newest, most up-to-date version.

3. Commenting on files to discuss changes with team-mates 

Sometimes you and your team will want to make comments on documents, without changing the actual content. You might make suggestions, discuss points of contention or highlight items that should be removed.

Dropbox for Business allows you and your team to comment on every document. When you click on a file at www.dropbox.com or on your Dropbox mobile app, you'll see the comment feed on the right-hand side of the screen.

This is where you can comment on the document and any changes. You can also '@mention' people, to send direct comments to them.

Instead of receiving one email per comment, your team will get a single email with the latest batch of comments. This is easier for them to manage and digest. It's even possible to disable emails altogether, and just check the comments feed when you view the document.

This is a great feature for keeping everybody on track, and for commenting on documents without swamping everyone's email inbox.

Get more work done with fewer emails 

Using Dropbox for Business, you can keep everybody up to speed with the latest changes and versions of project documents. And you can do it without filling their inboxes full of emails.

Nothing distracts from workflow like the notification of a new email. By cutting down on emails using Dropbox for Business, you can boost the productivity of your team – and yourself.

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Author: 
Alex Cruickshank
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