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Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Articles and blog of Note – February 2016

Tuesday February 2nd, 2016, 3:07 pm

Three themes stood out over the past few weeks: the obvious one of new year’s resolutions and predictions; our skill or lack of it with the English language and of course the Court of Human Rights ruling in favour of an employer who monitored an employee’s personal emails.

2016 predictions and resolutions

  1. Press roomSet goals rather than resolutions.  Did you set yourself up for failure just a week into the new year by setting a series of new year’s resolutions which within a week you had broken?  Well it turns out that it is better to establish some SMART goals against which we can monitor our progress. It’s never too late to re-calibrate and set new goals.
  2. Ten goals for the IT department for 2016. The technology press abounded with hot tips.  This was not so much about what the future would look like, but how you can change hearts and mind during 2016 to really exploit the power of IT to improve performance.
  3. Cyber crime predictions for 2016. There is little doubt that cyber crime will continue to rise in the foreseeable future and that the cyber criminals may continue to have the upper hand, but maybe not for ever.  This article underlines the need to be forever vigilant especially using mobile devices.

How clearly do you communicate?

  1. The corporate guff awards for 2015.  As always perhaps the funniest article of the month, when FT Assistant Editor Lucy Kellaway hands out her awards for the biggest load of waffle written over the past twelve month. It’s worth the time to set up a free FT.com account just to access her Guffipedia.    There are wonderful phrases like ‘We will deepen our leadership of food-to-go’, meaning make better value sandwiches.
  2. English deficit causes more harm than the digital divide.  A controversial article by Michael Shapinker again in the FT about the impact of the lack of good skills in English can harm the economy.
  3. Do you write email pearls or lead balloons? In keeping with the above two articles, a Mesmo Consultancy blog on using good email etiquette to send the right message right first time rather than writing an email which might just start another email media disaster.

Monitoring employee’s personal emails

  1. Are you stealing the company’s broadband? Recently the European Court of Human Rights ruled against an employee who protested that his company was monitoring his use of the company’s email system for his personal use.  A Mesmo consultancy blog on the pros and cons of this ruling and implications for the future of both corporate email etiquette and email overload.

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Email etiquette – only send PEARLS

Monday February 1st, 2016, 10:23 am

Email PEARLS for brilliant email etiquette

Email PEARLS for brilliant email etiquette

Are your emails PEARLS designed to send the right message right first time or lead balloons which might lead to an impending email disaster?

  • P     PROPERLY laid out
  • E     Written in plain ENGLISH
  • A    Have an ACCURATE subject line
  •    RELATE to work or business
  • L     LESS than half a screen in length
  • S     About a SINGLE topic

PEARLS are good corporate email etiquette and will enhance your digital dress code just like real ones can add a touch of glamour to anything from jeans to haute couture.

Click here to check your email etiquette.

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Are you guilty of stealing company bandwidth and storage?

Monday January 18th, 2016, 6:59 pm

Is it fair that an employer can read your personal emails? This is the question on many people’s lips after the European Court of Human Rights rejected an employees claims for unfair dismissal because he was using the company email account for personal use. You might think that this is not relevant to you as the company was based in Romania. Think again.

Company’s Email/Computer Usage policy usually have a line to the effect that you can make limited use of your work account for personal emails. The key word is ‘limited’. Moreover there is probably a line about the employer’s right to monitor your email and International_justice_and_privacyinternet usage if they have reasonable reason to do so. Most of us will have signed such a policy at some point in our life so unless you can prove that you neither saw the policy nor signed it, you probably don’t have a leg to stand on. Certainly judging by my archives which are littered with cases like these, rarely does the employee win. And why should they.

Why do we think we can use precious company resources for our own use. In effect we are stealing the company’s bandwidth and storage. It’s akin to going to the stationary cupboard and taking pens and paper to take home for personal use.

Perhaps it’s time to remind ourselves that what we write on the company email belongs to the company.Check your email etiquette and and make sure you write email PEARLS not lead balloons which will land you in court.

P PROPERLY laid out

E – Written in plain ENGLISH

A – Have an ACCURATE subject line

RRELATE to work/business

LLESS that half a screen

S – About a SINGLE topic

Yes, use the company email for emergencies, but do so sparingly. Otherwise as Banksy said ‘that invisibility is a superpower’. Keep you social emails to your personal devices and email accounts.

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New Year’s Resolutions or Goals to Reduce Email Overload in 2016

Monday January 4th, 2016, 5:44 pm

A resolution is a steadfast decision to do or not to take an action for cycle to work, be more of a team player etc. Once agreed there is no going back. Whereas a goal is about an effort to achieve either a specific result and ambition, for example, reduce your golf handicap, go home on time more often, change career. With a goal you may set some intermediate steps to help you achieve your goal such as improve your golf short game, manage your time more effectively etc.

We are always urged to set New Year’s Resolutions, yet how many of us find that within a week they are shattered and we crawl back into old habits? A better option is to set goals because they are more enduring and we can look back over time and can measure progress.

Reducing email overload should be a goal for everyone who care’s about their own and colleagues’ well-being and performance.  Lets’s all work together to make 2016 the year we regain our perspective and work-life 2016 Start, Two Thousand Sixteen.balance through corporate reducing email overload.

Based on the many workshops and webinars run in 2015 here are seven goals for helping you and your business reduce email overload.

  1. Step away from email for at least one hour a day and 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 need (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 glancing at it and leaving it lying fallow in the inbox: that action can simply be to folder/delete it.
  6. Keep emails short which will helps save everyone time (you the writer and the receiving when reading it).
  7. Only deal with emails between 8.30 am and 8.30 pm.

Setting goals like these you can allow yourself an occassional day’s relapses and yet still feel at the end of the week that you have made progress.

Meanwhile, if you need some more help in 2016 why not either call us about how our Brilliant Email workshops or just buy a copy of the ‘Brilliant Email‘?

 

 

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Reduce email stress: disconnect at Christmas and improve your well-being

Monday December 14th, 2015, 11:12 pm

Technology is a great source of help over the Christmas period, for example shopping on-line, e-cards, looking up how to cook the turkey etc. However, there is a downside too, smart devices entice us to stay connected to the office even over the Christmas period when let’s face it many organisations are effectively shut for business.

Meanwhile, cyber-crime is not only increasing but taking on different forms. Rather like flu you find a vaccination for one strain and along comes another. In the case of cyber-crime it’s called Ransomware. The hackers tease you into downloading malware which locks down all your files. Then they demand a ransom to unlock the files. Here is an excellent article from Norton on dealing with Ransomware.

Here are five tips to help you relax and reduce the risk of email stress and a cyber-attack to either you or your business. The key is to disconnect (from both emails and work social media feeds).

  1. Email connect or disconnect?

    Email connect or disconnect?

    Never email under the influence of drink (before during or after Christmas) when your judgement and vision could be impaired.

  1. Wipe your inbox clean before taking a break. Move all old emails out into a separate file just in case you really do need them again.
  1. Go ‘cold turkey’ over the holiday. Either switch off your office smart phone or disconnect the work email feed (if you see them on your personal device).
  1. Set a safe and simple Out of Office. Give away as little information to prying eyes as possible. Be bold, tell sad senders that all your emails are being deleted and to resend anything important on your return.
  1. Be extra vigilant about any unfamiliar emails either from unknown senders or contacts where the email has an unusual subject-line/content. They may have been hacked and the hackers are now extending their tentacles.   Such unusual emails nearly always are either taking you to bogus websites to capture your personal details or the start of a ransom demand scam.

If all else fails buy one of those magnificent colouring books and get colouring. It a great way to relax and re-connect with others (very young and old).

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