Our email carbon foot print can easily be reduced with the help of the majour providers. See our recent letter in the Financial Times. However, as individuals we to have a part to play. Here five easy ways to manage email more effectively to reduce your carbon footprint.
In summary, small creates a beautiful email carbon footprint when it comes to email and inbox size. At the same time, make sure you don’t send trivial one-line message which have no value for the recipient, eg OK, Thanks, Will do. Chrome have a neat extension called ‘Carbon Capper’ which pops up when you send emails of less than four words to prompt you to think whether or not you need to send the email.
This is an extract of Dr Seeley’s forthcoming new book – ‘100 Tips to Improve Performance in the Digital Age’, being co-authored with Melissa Esquibel.
We are publishing the 100th edition of the Mesmo Consultancy ‘e-briefing’ – tips and hints on how to save time by reducing email overload and using brilliant email etiquette. The first edition appeared on 1st January 2003 and was emailed to 350 subscribers. 100 editions on and we have over 2,300 subscribers.
How has email changed over the last ten years since the first edition?
SPAM dominated discussion on email. There were government conferences on it. Company boards were blamed as they did not recognise the need to take control and enforce proper Acceptable Usage Policies. In 2011 the resources needed to process the current volume of SPAM are sufficient to drive 1.6 million times around the world.
Phones4U made headlines as employees were banned from using email for internal communication and their MD said this would save them £1M per year. Here we go again in 2012 with Atos trying to find alternatives to email for internal communications.
Royal Mail found that poor business etiquette was costing companies £4bn in lost customers. Poor email etiquette is now just as costly judging from some of our clients’ woes.
The Audit Commissioners found that IT fraud and abuse was posing major problems to public sector organisations. New technologies, like the use of handheld devices (PDAs) and wireless networking, are creating fresh risks to which public services are only slowly reacting.
There was a rise in the sales of traditional writing instruments according to research analysts. One teacher was so fed up with text speak that she ordered her pupils to write only with a fountain pen.
Hands up all those who still use a fountain pen – especially to say ‘thank you’?
Email overload and time wasted on the Internet were starting to become an issue. A Government survey estimated that people wasted two days per year ‘wilfing’ – aimlessly surfing the net. Now we estimate business people waste up to nearly two days per month dealing with unnecessary email.
Email addiction is becoming a problem for Blackberry users. In 2011 the Blackberry outage served to highlight just how serious email addiction has now become. It is one of the biggest drains on employee’s health and causes of stress related illness.
Twitter takes off and we launched our daily email tips under the EmailDoctor pseudonym. Some were starting to suggest that the use of email would decline in the face of rising use of social networking. See Social Networking in Business 2009.
Email overload continues to dominate the news with some declaring email bankruptcy. Cyber crime costs more than physical crime. There are an estimated 2M emails sent per second worldwide. In personal terms it equates to about 72 email messages received per person per day which is about one new email every ten minutes! Now research analysts estimate a rise to 80+ by 2015.
There are now several websites dedicated to reviewing conventional note books and writing instruments!
Does history repeat itself? Yes, just like fashion, where drain pipe trousers are succeed by flairs and then straight cuts and then back around the loop. Mini skirts come and go and for some they were called ‘pelmets’. In suits it’s double breasted then single breasted are all the rage.
Indeed for some of us of a certain age ‘Cloud Computing’ feels just like ‘Bureau Services’. Ah but many of you are far too young to have heard that term.
So hold onto a few of these challenges and make a diary not about how you resolved them because you may well need to look back in anger five years down the line!
Reduce your email carbon foot print as part of Green Office Week. A free copy of ‘Brilliant Email’ to the best contribututor to help lower the email carbon foot print. Just becasue email is some how invisable it can be hard to realise just how much email overload raises our carbon foot print.
My thanks to everyone who has emailed with their activities thus far and which are shared here in additon to my daily tips on Twitter. Amongst the best ideas are those from Nicky Bassnett at a Manchester based University:
Several people have set their printers to save paper and toner by setting the default to one of the following.
Then there are the well tried and trusted practices of turning off all PCs, laptops, smart phones and monitors when you go home/stop working for the day. This might also help create some me time as you are less distracted by the ping of new messages (text and emails).
What are you doing? There is a free copy of Brilliant Email for the best activity. Tell me what you are doing either by email or leave a comment. You can also take my LinkedIn poll.