Email overload remains one of the top ten drains on our productivity and well-being. Can email management training help reduce email overload and improve our well-being and mental health? We often assume that email management and best practice is instinctive. So do we really need training to reduce email overload? After all most of us use email socially so why bother to offer training at work?
A recent survey from the Association of Talent Development found that organisations who have comprehensive training programes:
Interestingly Millennials value training more than Generation X.
Many of you will have formal training programmes in place but how many of them include email management training specifically to reduce email overload? More often than not any email training consists primarily of software (eg Outlook) training. Yes, using the software properly is important. However to reduce email overload you need to look outside the email technology and instead at the email culture, the quality of employees’s email communications and the techniques they use to manage their time dealing with email and their sender’s response expectations. After attending one of Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management workshops delegates find:
Why because they no longer feel driven by their inbox, instead they have taken back control of their inbox and day. They decide when to check for new email. Good email etiquette often helps reduce the rounds of email ping-pong and means they send the right message, right first time, thus reducing the risk of an email war breaking out.
Email dominates business life. How much time are you and your colleagues wasting through lack of proper training? Click here to check? Maybe you have had some training but chances are you are only using a small percentage of the techniques covered on the course.
We all need to justify our training budgets. An average Smart Email Management workshop costs £45 per person. If you are wasting one hour a day and can reclaim even half that then training to reduce email overload pays for itself within the first day (assuming even the median hourly pay of £14.31).
Why waste any more time? If you are serious about well-being, improving mental health and productivity, grab a chunk of that training budget now for some Smart Email Management Training.
If you need some help justifying the budget call us and we can talk through how to convince the Board that providing email best practice training will improve business productivity.
Is email yesterday’s technology and will email overload soon be a thing of the past? Maybe for Generation K – teenagers. However, four recent studies on email overload and email traffic suggest that this is definitely not the case see below.
1. Email alert: full inboxes leave staff exhausted. Professor Cary Cooper pronounced that email is sapping the life out of the British workforce. It is one reason why British productivity is the lowest in the G7 group. Germany and France are taking action to reduce the email overload malaise, but few UK based companies are doing anything. Sir Cary says ‘companies need to take drastic action’.
2. Here are some of the findings from a fascinating new study of the email behaviour of over 2 million users by a group of researchers at Yahoo and the University of Southern California.
2. The overall volume of emails sent and received is predicted to grow by 3% year on year between 2015 and 2019 according to the Radicati Groups latest email statistics report. This may be a small increase but nonetheless it is still up rather than down.
3. Pointless emails are common. A study focused on British email users (by Sennheiser) found that of 2,000 business users one third felt there was always someone in their team who sent pointless emails (eg the photo copier is broken) when an alternative more effective method could be used. 38% confessed to sending an email which started an email war and 25% said they used email instead of talking because they were emailing about a person sitting close by!
Even if you only receive half the number of emails identified in these studies that is 50 per day and 10,000+ per year. If you are a manger the volume will be higher and the email overload more pronounced.
There are important lessons to be drawn from these studies, not least about email etiquette, the risk of missing important emails as email traffic increases and the impact of email overload on business and personal productivity and finding key emails when needed to support your reason for actions taken.
Simply banning email is not a solution as the Grossman Group pointed out. The solution is to change the email culture and enable people to use email more responsibility. Know when to stop an email chain and talk, no reply is required, etc.
These are challenges which Mesmo Consultancy regularly addresses in its email management training webinars, workshops and one-to-one coaching. If these are issues you face then why not call us now to hear how we have helped other clients like you?
Tags: Cary Cooper, email etiquette, email management training, email overload, Generation K, Generation X, Generation Y, Mesmo Consultancy, Millenials, Radicati Group, Sennheiser, The Grossman Group, University of Southern California, Yahoo
Top tips to reduce leaking confidential information through email and improve email security. Article published in Executive Secretary Magazine October 2013.
Over fifteen years of writing two books on email best practice and many articles, not surprisingly I have files full of email media disasters from the early stories of naughty Claire Swire emails to the more serious ones where Kirsty Walk asked her PA to hack into someone else’s inbox to retrieve some damaging emails.
When will we learn that no matter how hard we try to erase an email we wish we had never sent, someone will have a copy. Furthermore as we become increasingly litigiousness many organisation now archive all email traffic in and out of their servers. Two press stories prompted me to write again on this topic. First, there is the phone hacking trial in which copious evidence is email related. At one point the management team tried to destroy all old emails only to find not surprisingly that they had been archived by their mail provider.
Second, was the recent email trail between Ed Miliband and a senior aide which branded Ed Balls as a ‘nightmare’. This was a classic case of not only putting something stupid into an email but then compounding the felony by sending it to the wrong person!
What can we do to avoid such email scandals which seem to now occur regularly? Recall the email. No that doesn’t work as I now have it and am intrigued why you are recalling it.
Here are my top three tips:
Most people feel compelled to either reply instantly they receive a new email or fire off an email when feeling cross. This usually results in unnecessary emails chains which often spiral into email wars and drive up the email overload. There is a time and place for chatting and gossip but email is not that place.
Do you want to reduce the risk that someone in your organisation will make an email faux pass? Call us now and ask about how our Brilliant Email Management masterclass can help you and your organisation prevent such email disasters (which are often very expensive in terms of damage limitation PR and putting people on gardening leave).
Meanwhile, dare to share, what are your tips for avoiding an email disaster? Have you ever been subject such an email scandal?
Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes. Oscar Wilde
Over the last few weeks running email management and email etiquette workshops, many of you have shared some classic faux pas. The spell checker is great for those of us who cannot spell but it can lead to some real howlers if you don’t watch what is happening. Here are a few from recent Brilliant Email management training sessions:
‘Hell’ was the email greeting instead of ‘Hello’.
The Board were asked to line up their ‘dicks’ instead of their ducks’ ahead of a board meeting.
Visitors were asked what size ‘willie’ would they like rather than ‘wellington’ boots.
The IT department apologised in advance of weekend maintenance for the ‘incontinence’ rather than ‘inconvenience’.
The moral of these email faux pas is not only to think before hitting send, but watch carefully as you spell check your email. Paying attention, pays dividends when it comes to email etiquette and preserving your image – both your own and the company’s.
Dare to share email mistakes like these either that have been sent to you or you have sent to others? Copy of ‘Brilliant Email’ for the best one.