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Showing items tagged with "Business email overload" - 16 found.

Stop Irritating Emails to Reduce Business Email Overload

Posted Tuesday August 28th, 2018, 8:09 pm by

Most of us suffer from chronic business email overload. The new 2018 Adobe Email Research revealed that the most irritating email phrases include:

  • Not sure if you saw my last email …
  • Per my last email …
  • Any update on this …

There is little doubt that these are words which make the blood pressure rise and can destroy good relationships. The question is why does it happen?

Mesmo Consultancy’s research indicates that we receive roughly one new email every five to seven minutes of which over 50% are deemed unnecessary by the receiver.   After a one hour meeting about 12 new emails are now on top of the existing backlog. If like many you spend at least two hours a day in meetings that’s 24 new emails added to the already bulging inbox. Little wonder business email overload is a cause of high blood pressure and sleepless nights. It’s not uncommon to see 500+ unread emails in the inbox.

Whose fault is it that emails are not answered and what can be done to reduce the need for these highly irritating email follow-up?  Does every email sent add business value or instead flatter the sender’s personal ego? Are we so disorganised and have such a high degree of email overload that it’s impossible to see the wood from the trees?

Sender’s perspective

There are a number of reasons why your email has may have been overlooked. Many related to common sense business email etiquette. Here are the top five we see most often and tips to overcome them to save time to reduce business email overload and hence improve business performance.

 1.  Email is too long. You are time poor and wrote the sentences as they came into your head.  You didn’t have to re-read and revise it.

Tip #1 – Use the 5S Principle of Business Email Etiquette for writing good emails – keep it structured, short, succinct, spell-checked and simple formatting. If appropriate start with a one line executive summary.

2.  No clear indication of what action is expected. Did you use the correct protocol for To and Cc and make it clear in the subject-line if any action is expected and by when?

Tip #2 – Always put the recipient in the To box if you expect action. Use the subject-line to be explicit if there is a deadline for action.

3.  Sent well outside normal office hours. Now it is buried in the pile of other unread emails .

Tip #3 – Draft outside office hours but only send within normal office hours.

4.  Wrong medium for the message. Oh dear we are so addicted to email that we forget there are other ways to communicate and especially if the message is urgent.

Tip #4 – Pick the right medium for your message, for example if it’s urgent phone/text message/walk and talk. Look outside the inbox for discussions, for example using a collaborative platform, conference call etc.

5.  Love the sound of your own voice. In the days of silent open plan offices the easiest way to chat is by email. Some people just like to look busy by emailing.

Tip #5 – Take a look at your inner self and ask why you are sending the email, what purpose is it serving? To satisfy your own ego or add real business value?

Receiver’s perspective

Why did you ignore that email? Here are the top five reasons we see when coaching people to manage their email more efficiently

1.  Email overload – too much email. You need to take control of what your receive and if needs be use filters to send less important emails directly to folders.

Tip #1 – Audit your inbox and reduce the number of emails you receive. Unsubscribe, use filters and remember it’s OK to say ‘No thank you’ to colleagues when included in a circulation list.

2.  No adequate way to spot quickly emails from key contacts. With an average of 60 plus new emails a day, how do you spot those from important contacts and ensure they are dealt with?

Tip #2 – Implement a way of flagging/highlighting incoming emails from key contacts.

3.  Email is too long and unclear what is expected. It really is not your fault if the sender rambles on, asks too many questions in one email etc.

Tip #3 – Push back. Don’t ignore the email hoping it will go away. Instead be bold and ask what is required and if needs be prioritise.

4.  Too little time to check emails properly. We are all time poor and you need to prioritise your day.

Tip #4 – Make a meeting with yourself every day dedicated to dealing properly with your inbox instead of just surfing and skimming the content.

5.  Easily distracted by new emails. You have a batch from yesterday, the meeting you have just attended and ping, you are distracted every five minutes as yet another new email arrives. Little wonder you probably have 500+ emails in your inbox.

Tip #5 – Turn off all those new email alerts. If needs be set one only for emails from the boss!

Whose Really At Fault

Over arching all these is the question of priorities and an organisational culture cover my backside culture.  Given these different pressure points between the sender’s and the receiver’s perspective it is little wonder that emails go unanswered. Neither party is to blame, it is a combination of mismatches in personalities, styles and priorities. Hopefully these tips will help reduce the email overload caused by those annoying and irritating email follow-ups.

Can we Help You and Your Organisation?

For more ways to improve performance through more effective email management why not come on one of Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management masterclasses or workshop

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Email overload and GDPR

Posted Sunday May 13th, 2018, 8:36 pm by

Email overload will increase the risk of a breach of GDPR.  Email overload and GDPR is like a red rage to a bull.  Email management and compliance with GDPR starts at the individual user level. You can have all the organisational policies and technology infrastructures in place but if individuals are sloppy then there is a high and un-managed risk of breaching GDPR. It is not uncommon now for business executives and their PAs and EAs to be expected to  handle over 100 emails per day.  As business email overload continues to rage unabated so too the risk of making an error and sharing personal data by email which really should be kept private.

Whilst your organisation will have a GDPR policy and hopefully the relevant IT infrastructure, here are four ways every individual email user can help to improve compliance and protection of personal data.

  1. Check, check and re-check to whom you are really sending that email. Don’t rely on the auto address function because it cannot distinguish between Matt French at ABC.com and Matt French at XYZ.com. It will just pick the one you use most frequently.
  2. Use the email software functionality to help you limit the above risks, eg Quick Steps in Outlook.
  3. When forwarding an email, review the whole chain no matter how long, to ensure there is nothing you should not be sharing with the new recipient.
  4. Check old emails for data you should not be keeping. Again use the software tools to help you.

How well are you training your staff about effective business email management and GDPR? Can you afford to pay up to 4% of turnover (or £17M) for breaching the new GDPR Act?

These are just four of at least ten ways you can mitigate the impact of email overload on GDPR

Call us now for more information about Mesmo Consultancy’s ‘Email Management and GDPR’ workshops and consultancy services.

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Blue Monday – time to review how to reduce business email overload

Posted Saturday January 13th, 2018, 10:12 pm by

Resolutions or goals?

Blue Monday and you business email overload is still rampant. Fifteen days into the new year how well are you keeping to your new year’s resolutions? Maybe like me you did not even set any because it’s about goals rather than resolutions. A resolution is permanent, it’s immediate with effect from now for example, you will not answer emails after 9.30 pm. It’s a way of life. It can be hard.

Resolutions are good but sometimes things happen which make it hard to keep them. For example you are in the middle of major global business deal and need to check your emails late at night. With resolutions there is a feeling that you have now let yourself down. Indeed in a study psychologist Richard Wiseman found that 88% of people failed to achieve their resolutions. Whereas with goals they are more objective, specific, and long term provided they are smart.

The arguments for reducing business email overload have been well rehearsed here before and should be part of your business values. Then you can establish some smaller measurable steps to achieve it.

Smart goals for reducing email overload in 2018

Your goal might be to reduce the number of days you check email outside normal working hours to one (boundaries being before 8.30 am and after 9.30 pm)

Over time you can review and measure how often you achieve your goals and take small steps to either adjust the goal to a more realistic one or achieve it. In this case it might be to re-set either the time scales for checking emails or the number of times per week to make it more realistic for your work-life pattern.

You can reward yourself periodically as you achieve your goals – celebrate with a good bottle of wine. Conversely fine yourself for lack of achievement – none of your favourite coffee for a week.

This does not mean you cannot have a resolution and goals. A resolution might be to re-balance my work-life balance to spend more time with the family. Within that you need a set of smart goals to help you achieve this new equilibrium. Wiseman suggest that one of the keys to keeping resolutions is to make them public and have a graphic posted in a prominent place to remind yourself and others of your aim. Social media makes it easy to spread the word.

Identify what you need to achieve the goals. To restrict the times during which you check emails it might be using your email software better.  For instance, a rule to notify you about emails from very high priority contacts whilst ignoring the rest and setting two types of Out of Office Message (one for internal and one for external emails).

Based on the many workshops and webinars run over the last year here are seven goals for helping you and your business reduce email overload in 2018.

  1. Step away from email for at least one hour a day: use that hour to walk and talk to the senders.
  2. Stay focused on the task in hand and do not allow new emails to distract.
  3. Apply the 80:20 rule to help prioritise what emails are really necessary (ie 20% of the emails received will provide 80% of the information need).
  4. Reduce the number of people to whom each email is sent.
  5. Take action immediately after reading an email instead of glancing at it and leaving it lying fallow in the inbox. Use the 4Ds principle.
  6. Keep emails short which will help save everyone time (you the writer and the recipient when reading it).
  7. Only deal with emails between 8.30 am and 9.30 pm.

This way you can allow yourself an occasional day’s relapse, yet still feel you have made progress.

What are your goals for reducing email overload in 2018?

 

 

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Business Email Overload & Etiquette Articles of Note January 2018

Posted Friday January 12th, 2018, 10:06 pm by

To quote Louis Renault in Casablanca, ‘round up the usual suspect’.  This applies to the recent business email overload and etiquette articles. Leaving aside all the technology predictions, here are five articles which caught our attention and are worthy of your too. Press room

1. Curb digital addiction with these resolutions. We wish we had written this ourselves. Although the slant is on men’s addiction the article really applies to us all. It contains some very practical and easy steps to wean yourself of those smart phones and tablets. For example write something in a book and share it for others to add some comments. Phone a friend instead of texting them.

2. Porsche urged to ban emails out of hours. There is a certain irony and black humour about the Porsche trying to reform their own workforce. After all, are these not one of the most prized status symbols of those who are often the worst offenders for sending late night out of office hours emails? However, other companies are continuing to adopting similar policies to reduce email overload and help people re-build their work-life balance.

3.‘Starwars’ ‘whatever’ other terrible passwords. Starwars and Whatever are among eleven new entries into the list of the worst passwords. Poor password management is worrying in a time when each day new cyber attacks are revealed. Click here to learn how to create a really strong password.

4. How I love thee, email? Let me count the ways I hate its alternativesWhy do many of the time saving alternatives to email not realise their full potential? We are talking about applications like Slack, Facebook for Business, Google Drive etc. The author Rhymer Rigby likens it to communism ‘communism would be great if only it was done properly’. It is all too easy to blame the real-user, when these new tools fail become embedded in our every day working practices (ie you and I). Is this true or is there something else missing, such as adequate training and leadership from the top? These are all great ways to reduce email overload too, so it not time to make them work?

5. iPhone users: upgrade to iOS 11.2.2 Both the new Spectre and Meltdown security flaws can effect iOS devices and users are being urged to update as soon as possible. It’s not often that Apple admits it devices might be susceptible to such flaws so when they do it’s worth listening.

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At the mercy of your inbox? How to cope with email overload

Posted Friday November 17th, 2017, 10:04 pm by

Email is over 30 years old and hasn’t changed that much since its inception. But over the years we have been letting it take over our lives. It started out as a basic electronic messaging system, and we now use it to communicate everything – from the simplest to the most complex messages.  This blog reviews some of different approaches to managing email overload and their pros and cons, including inbox zero and the goldfish techniques.

Published in The Guardian November 2017

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