Jul 28, 2009

Frequent complaints with e-mail at the workplace

"It seems that Peter has nothing else to do than send e-mails. I get his messages all the time. They are very long and difficult to understand".

"Mary is very inconsiderate: She keeps sending chain letters. Doesn’t she know that I’m very busy and have no time for those foolish things? They also fill up my inbox and prevent other important messages from arriving".

"Joe always copies messages to the boss: He cannot be trusted. I know we must document our work, but why didn’t he call me first? We would have clarified the situation and then write a message with what we agreed on".

If to this we add the great number of "spam" messages we receive, and the number of copied messages that are useless to us, we can understand the increasing stress that managing e-mails produces in our work.

The productivity of this tool is greatly associated to our personal reputation. That is, our effectiveness in managing e-mail is reflected by whether we achieve the purpose of a message or not.

For example, if we write "too many" e-mails, it is likely that recipients will start to ignore them, particularly those that are in the "Cc" field.

If we want to improve our effectiveness in the use of e-mail, we need to understand how they act, and what do recipients value more in our written messages, in order to positively affect their perceptions and attitudes.

Likewise, we must deal with each recipient in the most personal way possible, taking into account the emotional impact that written words have and the structure of the e-mail.

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