Returned quicker than a phone call and, lately, more powerful than a postal letter, e-mail has become the superman of communication for all facets of life. Today, not only are e-mails used in everyday business and for personal communication between friends and family, but e-mail has extended into the communication between physicians and patients, teachers and students, and between property managers, board members and shareholders.
When Allison Winn Scotch and her husband wanted to renovate their Upper West Side co-op, they needed to discuss several issues with their property manager. Instead of playing "phone tag" with their very busy administrator, the couple e-mailed him to hash out the non-urgent details and waited for a response.
"We communicated with the manager about what we could and couldn't do in terms of potential board approval with our renovations, problems that we had between our contractor and the building super, and more recently, problems that we're having with our downstairs neighbor who teaches voice lessons at all hours of the day," said Scotch. "The property manager responds quickly - usually within a day or so and much faster than the phone."
Think of all the benefits that e-mail has to offer: residents like Scotch can e-mail property managers at their convenience, without the concern of bothering them during working hours with non-emergency matters. Overwhelmed property managers can read concerns or questions from tenants, find answers and respond after taking care of more pressing daily matters. It's also an efficient and effective way to conduct board business with members who volunteer their time and have varying work and personal schedules.
As beneficial and productive as e-mail can be, it can still have a dark side.