I wrote a blog last week on how to survive the email deluge in 2013, where I focused on practical techniques that users can implement to improve how they deal with email messages. It takes two hands to clap however, and it is probably the case that the majority of useless emails actually originate from within your organization.
As such, I’d like to offer some practical strategies that small and mid-sized businesses can employ to dramatically reduce the volume of such email messages they have to face. You may want to implement it as part of your IT policy, or perhaps send out occasional reminders.
Use IM for quick questions
Want to check with your colleagues about the status of a certain project but saw that they are cooped up at a meeting? Drop them an email — not. It may be better to drop them a quick query via IM, or instant messaging instead. This allows them to send off a one-liner IM reply once back at their desk, or simply ignore it if you’ve already bumped into them at the cooler earlier. That’s one less email to sort through.
Address to individuals as much as possible
Groups can be a fantastic timesaver when working on complicated projects that require input from a few parties. They save tremendous time from having to type in multiple email addresses, and groups reduce the chance of missing out someone by mistake. They can also be a curse, however, for lazy colleagues who simply address emails to entire departments or project teams without a good reason. As it is, address your email messages to individuals as much as you can.
Say no to non-work-related messages
We all have that colleague who loves to send out non-work-related messages all the time. This could range from jokes, inspirational messages, chain email messages (yes, they still exist), or even movie clips or picture attachments that are not necessarily appropriate for work. It’s time to put a stop to these time-wasters that not only suck up precious time, but bandwidth and storage resources too.
Stop the CC’ing madness
Do workers at your SMB have a habit of CC’ing every email to their departmental heads or even the CEO in your SMB? It’s sometimes hard to understand how this helps, since superiors often don’t have enough time to read through the entirety of these messages, while staffers walks away with the implicit — and erroneous — impression that their plans are officially sanctioned.
Do you have any other tips that should be inked as part of an SMB’s email policy? Feel free to share in the comments section below.