Managing Email In The Workplace
E mail whilst in many ways an excellent tool for us all, it can also be our nemesis! We are available, or so it seems, 24 hours a day, especially with Smartphone’s, Blackberrys’ and Iphones , where we can easily access e mails, being the norm. Our bosses, clients and customers can have an expectation that we are doing nothing else but sitting waiting on their e mail because they know that we have the technology!
Whilst we may have the technology, it’s worth remembering that your phone and PC are meant to make your life easier, not more stressful! Therefore managing your e mail is paramount:
- Set specific times during the day when you answer e mails and do not deviate from this unless it’s an extreme emergency.
- Rate and manage your e mail when you are dealing with it. Deal with the urgent ones first, create folders for the ones that you have to come back to – putting it on your to do list so that you don’t forget it.
- Use the Categorise squares and Follow Up flags to identify important mails that you need to come back to and follow up flags for the day that you need to reply.
- Try to empty your inbox each day – once you start this you won’t want to stop, it’s a great feeling
- Put on the auto preview and reading pane. If you are not opening your e mails before your scheduled time, you won’t be tempted to read them and deal with beforehand in the auto preview. But having auto preview gives you the opportunity to delete any junk or unimportant mail immediately.
- Use folders and file mail in the appropriate folder so that you know where it is and can respond at the appropriate time
- Where you get what seems like a rude or offensive e mail from a colleague (if it’s inappropriate, that’s different, that should be reported), it’s worth remembering that the written word in the absence of tone and body language can be misinterpreted and therefore its worth stepping away and going back when you have had time to reflect on perhaps another meaning.
Remember e mail is intended to be an aid, not a curse. But how it works for you is very much dependant on your attitude and management of it.