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How to avoid unnecessary emails

We all know that email is the default method of business communication. It is simple to use, fast, efficient and cheap, which is why it is still going to be a big part of our lives for the foreseeable feature.

However, as good as email is, it’s not the answer for every communication and shouldn’t be used unnecessarily. Otherwise, you end up wasting precious time and devalue the service. Also, if you limit the number of emails you send, it stands to reason that you will have less to deal with as a result. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average employee spends 650 hours per year on emails. Worse, only 27 percent of that email is relevant. That means employees spend 474 hours per year (the equivalent of 20 workdays) sorting through and reading unnecessary emails.

Take a look at these tips to help you cut down on the number of emails you send and receive:

  • Before typing, take a few seconds to think if you really need to send this particular message. Could there be a better way? This can also avoid you sending costly impulse emails by mistake.
  • If the message content takes more than five minutes to write, it is probably easier to convey the message over the phone or in person. This also reduces the risk of misinterpretation and gives you the chance to provide relevant Q & A.
  • If the recipient is close by, such as within walking distance of your desk, go and see them in person. Talking is more effective.
  • Don’t copy anyone into an email that you don’t need to. Ask yourself if all of the people you’ve CC’d are necessary when replying to the email and remove them where possible.
  • If lots of people are asking the same questions about something, post your message in an internal public place such as a social network or intranet. This prevents employees from being constantly alerted about information that may not be of relevance to them and that the same requests aren’t made over and over again.
  • Circulating various drafts of an attachment over email is not the best way to get feedback. Use one of the many free file-sharing programs available or cloud storage to keep documents up-to-date, track all changes and keep from sending attachments that are too large.
  • If you ask your contacts to only send important messages to you, they will do the same in return.

Email should be used to make it easy for the recipient to take the appropriate action in order to save everyone time, encourage an exact response if required and earn respect from the recipient. If you bombard someone with constant emails, you will only end up aggravating them.