Blogs

Derek Bishop

Director

To mail or not to mail

Date added: 18th Aug 2014
Category: Employee Engagement

We may live in an information age but an organisation with an e-mail overload culture is one which cares little for its employees.

The announcement that German automotive company Daimler has introduced an ‘e-mail delete’ option is the next step in the long running debate about work-life balances allied to e-mail overload.  Daimler’s solution to the problem of workers interrupting their holidays to read e-mails or face being overwhelmed on their return is to offer an auto-delete option.  When deployed the system automatically deletes every e-mail sent and replies with a message inviting senders to contact an alternate employee or to re-send once the employee returns from leave.

Although some employees worry that auto-delete may leave them out of touch on their return from leave, in general the policy has been welcomed.  We’ve previously reported on the way in which e-mail fever is threatening to swamp some businesses and, regardless of work-life balance, any move which makes us think more about reducing the e-mail workload can only be good.

The trouble with e-mail is that it is too easy to copy people in.  This means that a simple message between two colleagues is now copied to every contact and every department ‘just in case’ someone may be interested.  Whilst the free exchange of information helps to remove silo working, the overwhelming volume of unnecessary e-mails swamps the workload with clag.  And if spreadsheets are attached, the IT system can also fall to unnecessary overload.

The solution is simple.  If something is important then hold a briefing or post the information on a centrally-accessed bulletin board.  If not then don’t waste everyone’s time with endless junk copies.  We may live in an information age but an organisation with an e-mail overload culture is one which cares little for its employees.

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