Corporate Wellness: Shred Those Inbox Pounds and Tighten Up Your Email Communications

Corporate wellness is not just the physical and mental wellness for employees. Corporate Wellness can also refer to the health and well-being of corporate systems like email. For 2013, resolve to get your inbox in shape and rethink how you use email as a communication tool. 

Over the holidays, I had to give up a couple vacation days to come into the office and get out of “email jail.” My company, and many other corporations, have email storage and retention policies that limit the amount of emails we can have in our email inbox and folders. I had received several warnings that my inbox was grossly exceeding these limits. As I spent time going through each email, saving important ones and deleting others, I noticed that most emails were unnecessary “ccs”or “reply alls.” Responses like, "thank you," "great" or "you, too!" flooded my inbox. I'm as guilty as the next person, but I now realize it's wasteful. I guess I always had to have the last word!

I also looked at the reason I was cc’d. While several were needed, a majority were unnecessary and borderline rude. I get the thought process. We “cc” in the name of “CYA” (if you don’t know what “CYA” is, Google it.) Or, we use it to make sure everyone is informed. Both ways have great intentions, but, as we all know, intent does not always equal impact. In many circumstances, cc’ing a person puts them on the defensive.

Have you ever received an email request for information and noticed your boss was cc’d? Have you sent an email to someone, and then on the reply, that person’s boss was cc’d? What was your reaction?

And don't get me started on the “bcc.” With the exception of using the function to send out a mass email, I cannot think of one legitimate business reason to use it. It is the equivalent of speaking behind someone’s back and is very deceiving and disrespectful.

Email, in general, should be used as an informal form of communication. I write emails with the assumption that they are being read from a mobile device. If your message is that important, send a brief note requesting a meeting or pick up the phone.

There will be many wellness initiatives for 2013. Personally, I’m resolving to reduce clutter, increase efficiency and minimize waste. I’m starting by getting my inbox in shape.

From a legal perspective, check out the SHRM article “Sarcastic E-mails Are the Stupidest” by Allen Smith. 

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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