Reduce your Email Footprint at Work

Email, used heavily in the corporate world over the past 15 years, has made businesses much more efficient. But office emailing can drag you down when you have to wade through useless emails. Some executives complain that they receive 300-400 emails a day and wish their offices would cut down on extraneous emailage.

Here’s an example. You are copied on an email with 10 other recipients. Seven of your colleagues “Reply All” back. Three of them have substantive comments; four of them seek primarily to appear engaged and additive. They are not. Five comments appear in the next round. Three co-workers have something useful to say. Two are trying to get the email equivalent of Face Time. Six more emails appear as responses. Four have merit, two appear to have been written by persons who didn’t read the previous emails. The next rounds’ count of Helpful vs. Not are: Three and Three, Two and Two, and Two and Three. Finally, one of your associates suggests an action plan and offers to initiate the next email on the topic after the plan has been fulfilled. Five emailers “Reply All” some variation of “Thank you.” You just received 40 emails, most of them useless.

Your co-workers did not earn brownie points for reiterating others’ points or adding fluff; although they may think they did. They may have even annoyed you.

The only way to add value is to…well… add value. A good thought to keep in mind before you hit the send key.