email is a powerful business tool which can be just as damaging as it can be beneficial to a company organisation. In many companies there’s too much time spent IN the on screen detail and too little time spent ON the actual business.
A survey by McKinsey Global Institute reported office staff, spend over 25% of their time during the working day writing and responding to emails. A survey by Good Technology reported that 69% of staff check their emails before they go to bed!
Internal email culture is driven by the managers and executives of the business, it can be positive, for example by encouraging an acknowledgement of the email along with confirmation of when you’ll be able to make a considered reply, or by praising an action or an outcome. It can also be negative, by its style and language, by cover copying lots of colleagues and assuming no immediate reply is an acceptance of the content. The culture is then perpetuated (or threatened) by the younger staff who have grown up in a world where texts, emails and other social media has replaced the art of verbal conversation. Effectively squeezing those in the middle who can’t beat them, so join them; and before you know it, the whole organisation is spending over 25% of their time during the working day writing and responding to emails
Some emails only travel a few metres across the office!
So here are 10 tips that will help you change the culture of your business and release time for you and your colleagues, to spend ON the business.
- Don’t jump to your email notification – finish what you are doing first
- Do set up an internal and external email box – address the latter first
- Don’t BCC anyone on an internal email – avoid politics and game playing
- Do open your internal emails at least twice a day – if it’s urgent pick up the phone
- Don’t allocate action to those you’ve CC and ask yourself do you really need to CC so many.
- Do delete attachments if you haven’t altered them before you reply – saves time and space
- Don’t type in CAPITALS or BOLD text – there’s no need to SHOUT!
- Do read through the eyes of the recipient before sending – you may wish to make a tweak.
- Don’t type anything you wouldn’t be prepared to say to face to face – believe in your words.
- Do give consideration as to whether email is the best method for your message.
The movement of culture change can start with your own self management of internal emails – you can: reduce the number you send; take the strain off the system; improve the verbal communication; stop the game playing; start building relationships based on trust; and release time for you and your colleagues to make a positive difference to your business.