There is no question that email plays an important function in business operations. But how do we manage this important communication tool? Business leaders need to ask two questions to develop best practices that fit their needs.
#1: How do we manage the volume of emails?
Although the exact number of messages will vary depending on a worker’s role and specialty, the fact that workers must address a large amount of emails on a daily basis is simply a reality of the current workplace. But who do we do this efficiently? Workers must sort through these emails to figure out what is important for work versus spam or personal communications. Once they find what is important for their work, they must then determine what is time sensitive and how to best resolve any issues or address questions.
It can help to have different folders to organize these communications and encourage friends and family to use personal email addresses for personal communications. It is also important to encourage clearing out inboxes by deleting old and unnecessary emails as practicable.
#2: How do we better ensure these communications are safe?
Unfortunately, email can result in safety breaches. Business leaders can take steps to reduce this risk. One option includes higher email management expectations depending on the workers’ role. It can help to require increased safety measures for those who are in senior positions or would otherwise come in contact with sensitive information.
It is also important to note that employers can face liability when it comes to emails. Workers could accuse employers of invasion of privacy or harassment. Employers can reduce the risk that comes with email with a clear email policy. Provisions to use within this policy can include the following:
- Property. It is helpful to include a provision that reminds workers the company email is the property of the company.
- Expectations. Since the email is the property of the company workers should know that employers can search and screen their company email. They should have no expectation of privacy when it comes to their use of this form of communication.
- Limitations. Also limit what types of communications workers open on their company email. Hackers can send messages with links encrypted with malware that can cause serious harm.
These provisions serve as a starting point. It is important to educate workers on the need for the policy and encourage discourse about its use. This can help to better ensure a policy that is respected and that workers will agree to follow.