Email Is Not Free

Does your job description include managing email flow? It probably doesn’t but have you found that it’s become an increasingly large part of the work you do?

As Tom Cochran wrote in a Harvard Business Review article, “E-mail is the most abused method of communication in every office environment. And the widespread perception that it has no incremental cost is chronically damaging workplace efficiency. “

As a result of having no perceived cost, “everything goes through email - the quick lunch invite, the short status update, the confirmation of receipt, the FYI email copying seven others, the surreptitious blind copy, and the list goes on - the FYI culture digitally drowns most executives.”

The challenge is to tackle the e-mail culture in your organisation; to treat e-mail just like so many other business processes - to standardise and systemise its usage by all staff.

Organisations have standardised processes for induction, procurement, raising a purchase order, receiving a delivery etc. There may be hundreds of staff but there’s just one process used by all employees. But when it comes to e-mail, there are hundreds of staff and hundreds of different processes for managing e-mail!

There is great benefit to be gained by organisations that implement the proven ‘best practices’ for e-mail into a standardised methodology, supported with training and a written protocol or manual.

While this will take considerable willpower and financial expense, the cost of not taking action (in both tangible and intangible ways) is becoming too high to ignore any longer. E-mail is the leading cause of preventable productivity loss in organisations today!

Steuart Snooks