There can be no doubt that email has revolutionised the way we communicate and the way we do business. But have we become overly dependent on it?
How often, when faced with making a difficult phone call, do we instead opt for emailing the individual as it gives us a certain level of anonymity? As essential to modernising business as email has become, at Yolk Recruitment we believe one on one communication is still the most effective way of building real business relationships which is why we have decided to hold a little experiment in our office.
As Bob Hoskins said ‘It’s good to talk’ which is why we have decided to place an embargo on emails from the 4th - 8th February. We've decided to conduct an internal experiment to see what effect restricting email access will have on the business before reintroducing limited access. We will also be permanently stopping all access to emails out of office hours. An automated system will inform anyone contacting us of the experiment. What we hope to get out of this is that we will see a reduction in emails being sent when a phone call would have been the better option. We also hope that we will see a reduction in internal emails with more direct contact between colleagues improving the working environment.
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SETUP PRIORITY INBOXES AND AUTO RULES Emails are a procrastinators dream. So much time is spent filing, organising and searching for emails when there are automated tools that can do this for us. On average we spend five hours a week searching and sorting our emails. Rules in Outlook and other email client will allow you to setup priority inboxes that let you cut through the clutter, deal with vital enquiries as soon as they arise.
STOP CC'ING COLLEAGUES FOR THE SAKE OF IT As Emails are so easy to send, we have created a culture of over sharing and copying in colleagues on emails that need not be involved. Software solutions in the CLoud such as Yammer, an enterprise social network, are a viable alternative to internal emails and for project management tasks you consider using Huddle. So next time you’re about to hit that ‘reply to all button’ stop and think does my colleague really need to read this?
NEVER OPEN AN EMAIL TWICE Inbox Zero is a system devised by Merlin Mann for dealing with emails promptly so that you never waste time going over the same thing twice. Every time you read an email you have five options delete, delegate, respond, defer and do. Dealing with an email when you receive will help reduce the amount of time wasted going over old tasks and make your working day more productive.
START USING NNTR AND EOM Proper email etiquette such as using ‘No Need To Reply’ and ‘End of Message’ will help cut down on pointless emails. Replies such as thanks, great and ta add no value or meaning and instead just disrupts the readers workflow. By using the terms NNTR and EOM you give your reader clear instructions not to waste their time and eventually they get the message and will adopt the same system.
THREE THEN NO MORE This is a simple rule that more people should abide by. If your email conversation goes beyond three replies then pick up the phone and speak to them instead of playing email ping pong. In most scenarios a phone call is better option than email but remember to send a follow-up email summarising the conversation afterwards so both parties have a clear record of the conversation, don't forget to end it with NNTR as we don't want to start the chain all over again.
SWITCH OFF YOUR MOBILE Mobile access to emails is great for people working in the field but it also encourages employees to put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Either switch off your email after working hours or opt out completely. The constant ping of your emails going off is an unwanted distraction so deal with your all your emails before you leave office and take a break for once.
I pledge to spend less time reading, sending, sorting and searching emails and more time communicating with colleagues, clients, friends and family face to face or on the phone. I pledge never to send an email when a phone call would be the better option. I will not respond to emails with contentless responses such as thanks or great and that I will use the terms NNTR and EOM to encourage others to follow my lead. I will no longer copy a colleague into an email conversation unless it requires their direct action. I will switch off my mobile email out of hours and deal with emails when they arise by following the principles of Inbox Zero. I pledge that if an email conversation goes beyond three replies I will call the other party instead.
Click the button and show others you have take then pledge to reduce email overload.