Home > NewsRelease > Is Your Email Culture Strangling You?
Is Your Email Culture Strangling You?
Marsha Egan, CSP - Workplace Productivity Coach and E-mail Expert Marsha Egan, CSP - Workplace Productivity Coach and E-mail Expert
Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Email. Our lives wouldn't be the same without it. It is a tool that has revolutionized the workplace, improved communication, and allowed employees to accomplish more in less time. However, if mismanaged, it can have a devastating effect on productivity and profits.

Have you ever stopped to think of what your organization's email culture is? How do your employees use email? How do they manage it? How do they send it? How do they save it? The habits they adopt, whether they are positive or negative, can be contagious and suddenly your business has its own email culture.

Here is just one example of how an email culture can evolve. A boss realizes that he needs to call an urgent meeting with 3 of his managers. He sends an email needing a response in the next 15 minutes. Two of the three see the email and respond. The third, who was working on an important project, did not have his email on, missed the request, and angered his boss.

Number three has just now learned that he can never turn his email off for fear of missing an important email. But it doesn't stop here. It rolls downhill. The three managers have now been given "permission" to use email as an URGENT delivery system. They use it in their departments, and very quickly, the entire organization is infected with this virus. No one can turn off his or her email for fear of missing something vital. Employees become slaves to the "brinnng" and stop productive work anytime an email comes in, even if it's just spam.

And that's just one example. Think of the practices of copying everyone under the sun, just so you don't miss someone. Or how about using email as a chat room with multiple recipients to resolve dilemmas? Or how about using email to critique someone's performance? One person does it, others do it. Culture is changed.

Email can also be extremely costly if not used effectively. When you consider the average recovery time from any interruption is about 4 minutes, you can imagine the cost to your organization when people look up every time an email is received. Do the math. If you stop what you're doing every time you receive an email and get 30 emails in one day, that equals 120 minutes of recovery time—two hours of waste! And that doesn't include the time spent handing the email. Now multiply that by every employee, everyday, and you can see how profitability can seriously begin to drop.

In order to instantly combat this loss, give everyone in your organization "permission" to turn off auto-receive, and instead schedule email deliveries every 90 to 120 minutes. This can shorten recovery time to about 30 minutes – a saving of 90 minutes added right back to your bottom line.

Here are a few other tips to help you create a positive office email culture excerpted from my new eBook, Reclaim Your Workplace Email Productivity: Add BIG BUCKS to Your Bottom Line:

1. NEVER use email as an urgent delivery system. If there is an urgent matter, pick up the phone or walk down the hall.

2. Move everything OUT OF your inbox.
Your inbox should not be a holding tank and your employees can manage their time better by putting emails appropriate folders so that no important information is ever lost or hard to find.

3. Make Subject Lines VERY specific.
By including details in subject lines, you will help others sort and prioritize their work. Instead of having a subject read, "Wednesday Meeting," have it read "Please bring the attached handout to the Wednesday 2:00 Staff Meeting."

4. Copy only the people who REALLY need to receive the email.
Each "extra/nice to copy" person you add will have to open and read the email, adding unnecessary tasks to their already full days. Multiply this times the number of unnecessary copies, and the productivity drain adds up.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC
Title: CEO
Group: InboxDetox.com, a division of The Egan Group, Inc.
Dateline: Nantucket, MA United States
Cell Phone: 610-780-1640
Jump To Marsha Egan, CSP - Workplace Productivity Coach and E-mail Expert Jump To Marsha Egan, CSP - Workplace Productivity Coach and E-mail Expert
Contact Click to Contact
Other experts on these topics