Web technologists have lauded email as the best Internet technology to ever be invented. Although others have declared the death of email, it’s hard to ignore the fact that billions upon billions of email messages are sent every day. Yet this prevalence is a problem plaguing companies all over the world.
Email is easy and accessible, almost to a fault. The massive amount of email sent within a single organization can cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars in IT management costs, including storage and bandwidth expenses.
Why Email Isn’t Free
One of the biggest problems with email comes in the form of a major assumption that many executives and employees have: that it’s completely free. Believe it or not, some organizations still rely on free webmail services, such as Gmail. Although cost-effective in the short run, this can open a business up to a variety of risky security concerns and lead to larger expenses in the future. Relying on a free service can also cause major problems when the service is down or not available. A hosted email platform circumvents these problems, providing greater security and more control over email data. It can also integrate with all technologies and you’ve got support when you need it.
Common Email Hiccups: Problems & Solutions
Here are a few frequent email problems and some suggestions for dealing with them:
- The cluttered inbox: Executives and employees alike have to sift through and answer hundreds of messages that arrive in their inbox every day. It’s important to have a good handle on this massive flow of communication. Begin by prioritizing your email in order of importance. From there, you can make an “Action” folder for the most important email that requires immediate action. Archive whatever’s left until you have time to get to it. The bottom line is that you need to differentiate between what’s urgent and what’s not.
- Inefficient email writing: Simply put, most email is just too long. If someone asks you a question, a simple one- to two-sentence answer will suffice. There’s also nothing wrong with a simple yes or no if the question warrants it. The reality is that people don’t want to read a novel from you. They just want essential information as quickly as possible. Keep it short and sweet.
- Managing contacts: The longer you’re at a company, the bigger your contacts folder becomes and sometimes it’s hard to put names with faces. If you have a directory of company-wide names and photos, you may want to consider importing those photos into your contacts list. Or better yet, use a tool that transforms your inbox contacts into smart contacts that list names, pictures, titles and other pertinent info.
- Email security: Finally, one of the biggest problems with corporate email is security. It’s important to have a robust data sharing policy in place to help protect confidential company data. Although this isn’t always foolproof, it will go a long way toward ensuring your company data remains safe within email exchanges.
Email Efficiency: Time Is Money
In today’s workplace, the line between sorting through email and wasting time is getting blurry. When you’re spending hours reading and responding to email, the motivation is to “get things done.” The trouble with this line of thinking is that you’re not getting things done as efficiently as you should be. Eliminating the clutter and streamlining your email habits are integral parts of staying productive at work. Email is far from dead and remains a central component of business communication, but using it effectively requires being able to manage your time wisely, stay organized and maintain a safe, secure system for your business.