Email overload – managing a team inbox

Monday March 21st, 2011, 9:30 am

Email overload can be a problem when dealing with a team inbox such as sales@, project@ and even for PAs/EAs  handling their manager’s inbox.  For example, how do you ensure every email is dealt with appropriately and that the sender does not receive multiple responses?

The PA/EA and manager relationship is always interesting if only because few talk about how best to handle the email.  For example:

  • Who is responsible for filing and deleting old email?
  • What is the best way for each party to draw to the other person’s attention emails which still need action, printing etc?
  • How do you cope when the boss dips in and out?
  • What is the process for telling their PA/EA what action either has or has not been taken?
  • How much time is the PA/EA wasting simply deleting emails which they know is of no interest to their manager?

Here are three simple tips for anyone who deals with a team/shared inbox to save some time and reduce the email overload.

  1. Agree who is ultimately responsible for managing the inbox, eg filing retention, archiving etc.
  2. Work out a process for highlighting emails which have been dealt with and those  which still need attention, eg flags, a ‘traffic light’ folder structure, even edit the email itself.
  3. Audit the volume of incoming email and discuss how to reduce it based on what is automatically deleted.

During this week there will be more tips and hints on Twitter – follow me as the ‘Emaildoctor’.

What are your top tips for handling a team inbox?

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