Taming e-mail is a massive untapped productivity opportunity. The report provides lessons in global best practices in the three ways an organization can improve its use of email:
1. company-wide policy changes to encourage better communication
2. individual tips and tricks to manage inboxes
3. software tools to reduce email sprawl.
This report contains numerous case studies and practical examples that can be implemented quickly - from policy changes made by Fortune 500s to how the most senior executives manage their inboxes.
Why purchase this report:
- It is the most comprehensive survey of global best practices in improving organizational email use
- It is the most practical source of recommended actions that can be implemented immediately
- The case studies and research are the most up to date
Who should purchase:
- Head of Training / Learning & Development
- Chief Operating Officer
- Chief Technology Officer
- Head of Internal Communications
2. Causes and Costs of Communications Overload
3. Tips and Tricks Individuals Use to Reduce Overload
- Executive Case Studies
- Inventory of Solutions
4. Company Policies that Reduce Email Overload
- Company Case Studies
- Inventory of Solutions
5. Software Tools to Improve Communications Productivity
- Productivity tools for Individuals
- Collaboration tools for Teams
6. About the Publisher
The average Information Worker now receives more than 100 emails a day, and despite many technologies designed to tame e-mail, volume is increasing rather than decreasing. As such, the average Information Worker is spending more than a quarter of their time dealing with e-mail. Smartphones have made the situation worse - the darker side of the “always available” culture is longer working hours. Workers report being available and monitoring work more than 80 hours a week. Such behaviors create burnout in the individual and diminish productivity and efficiency for the company at large. Instead of being refreshed from time off, workers are worn-down from the lack of predictability and constant connectivity making it a struggle to contribute their best efforts to an organization.
How can you enable your team to make e-mail work for you, rather than the other way round? This report discusses three tangible strategies managers can take. First, managers can set group-wide policies that set norms and expectations around email behaviors so both senders and responders to email are clear about expectations. Second, managers can learn from best practice tips and tricks to control inbox overload, and to be a more responsible corporate citizen when it comes to email. Finally, there are an increasing number of software tools that can help filter and prioritize emails.
E-mail Policy Best Practice
Many progressive organizations have adopted group wide policies to ensure e-mail remains a collective benefit, not a drain:
- Timing: Limiting the time frame that workers are responsible for email has proven successful for companies like Volkswagen, US Cellular, and Edelman. Policies limited email after normal business hours (e.g. 7pm - 7am), on weekends and holidays.
- Behaviors: Ferrari and OpenBook Learning targeted behavior in an attempt to modify email habits of their employees. They created charters and etiquette tips to give workers clear guidelines on how to communicate in a way that would be best for the group.
- Transparency: Companies like BCG ask employees to clearly communicate when they are - and, by extension - when they are not available, to increase transparency with colleagues.
- Replacement tools: Many organizations have chosen to take a different approach with alternative software and replacement tools. These tools, embraced by companies like Atos and Rarely Impossible, create an environment for more efficient sharing and communication across companies.
Individual Tips and Tricks
There are plenty of best-practice tips and tricks the individual or small team can implement to help tame e-mail. Some often used tips include:
- Users should read email in batches at pre-determined intervals throughout the day, postponing the initial read till after completing morning to-do lists.
- If an email will take longer than 5 minutes to handle it should be scheduled for a later time to be addressed.
- Setting expectations for the sender as to when they should expect action creates a transparent flow of communication.
- When writing emails, the author must keep the wording concise, focus on the purpose, and avoid confusion.
- The sender list should be restricted to absolute need and the reader should know exactly what their next steps are through reading.
Some of the most successful executives - such as Eric Schmidt of Google or Tony Hsieh of Zappos hold themselves to strict standards for email management. Within tech firms especially, clear and concise messaging is championed, discipline is key, and mutual respect is present in each communication.
Multiple tools and apps exist to make email work most effectively. While a user needs to trust an algorithm to filter their email for them, it can help make inbox volumes more manageable. For example, Hiri promotes good email habits by tracking usage and rating senders. Yesware helps salespeople track responses, allowing for bulk, personal messaging. ActiveInbox turns your emails into tasks for Gmail users. And Boomerang functions as a reminder to handle email initially missed.
- All Western Mortgage
- Boston Consulting Group
- Edelman (Toronto)
- First Round Capital
- frontapp.com Inc.
- General Motors
- Halton Housing Trust
- International Power
- Openbook learning
- PBD Worlwide
- Rarely Impossible
- Sapience Analytics
- ShuttleCloud Corp
- The Advisory Board Company
- Time to Reply
- US Cellular