Emails have become an essential tool for communication, and it’s especially important for teams and collaboration. However, email overload and not being able to manage conversations productively can lead to problems.
And since you most probably spend a good amount of your week managing emails it can impact your work. A study by McKinsey & Company claims that, on average, a typical worker will spend 28% of their time managing email. It’s even worse for managers and executives, where this number goes up to 40% of their time on email-related tasks.
Poor email management can also hurt team dynamics and collaboration. It can easily lead to missing important information in your inbox and missing a deadline. No wonder why communication issues often cause confusion, frustration, and mistrust among team members.
The good news is that there are many tips and tricks for maximizing productivity for emails.
What Are the Common Causes of Ineffectiveness with Emails?
To solve email overload and inefficiency, it’s important to know what usually causes these problems. These are some things that can make emails productivity hard for you and your team:
- Email volume: The high volume of emails that we receive daily can be overwhelming, and can make it difficult to stay on top of important messages.
- Information overload: Even when we do manage to read all of our emails, we may struggle to process and retain all of the information contained within them.
- Poor email organization: When our inboxes are cluttered and disorganized, it can be challenging to find and respond to important messages promptly.
- Lack of prioritization: Failing to prioritize our emails can lead to missed deadlines and important messages going unnoticed.
- Inefficient email habits: Poor email habits, such as constantly checking email or failing to respond to messages in the appropriate period can lead to lost productivity.
Poorly managing emails can cause time and productivity loss and negatively impact your team dynamics and collaboration. For example, it can cause miscommunication, missed deadlines, confusion, and frustration.
By finding the root causes of your email productivity problem you can more easily take concrete steps to address the issues and optimize email efficiency. Now that we have a better understanding of the common cause, let’s explore some practical tips and tricks for maximizing email efficiency in your team.
Tips & Best Practices for Maximizing Email Productivity in Teams
To make emails more efficient and help you and your teams work better together, you can follow some tips and do what works best to reach inbox zero.
1. Use Email Collaboration Tools
There are a variety of email collaboration tools available, such as shared inbox software that can help you be productive with email aliases. These tools can ensure that team members are up-to-date on important messages and that important messages are not overlooked and taken care of.
2. Establish Clear Email Guidelines
Establishing clear guidelines for email usage, such as when to use email versus other communication methods like instant messaging, can help teams stay on the same page and reduce unnecessary emails. Additionally, chatting with your coworkers instead of using email threads can help reduce inbox clutter.
3. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
You can’t expect that every email will get a response immediately, or that your and your team’s inboxes will be cleaned every day. By setting realistic goals with everyone in your company and working towards them consistently, you’ll soon find that it’s a lot easier to gain the upper hand in your inbox.
Another great strategy is to implement the 2 minutes rule. If you can complete a task related to an email or respond to it in two minutes or less, you should do it immediately. By taking care of quick, easy tasks right away, you can avoid letting them pile up and become a source of stress and clutter. If you can’t, you should make sure to schedule a time to do so or delegate.
4. Prioritize Emails
Not all emails are equally important, so it is important to prioritize them accordingly. Team members can use labels, filters, or other methods to prioritize emails and ensure that the most important messages are addressed first.
5. Develop Good Email Habits
Encouraging good email habits, such as responding to emails within an appropriate timeframe and using emails internally only for important messages that cannot be delivered via chat, can help teams reduce wasted time and improve email efficiency.
6. Keep Emails Brief and To-the-Point
Long emails that go on and on can be hard to understand and make it difficult for recipients to grasp the intent quickly. You should try to keep emails brief and concise, focusing on the most essential information. Most communications do not require a lengthy and detailed response. In most cases, if a long and detailed email is necessary, a call would likely be a better option.
7. Avoid Email Overload
Too many emails can be overwhelming and reduce productivity. You can reduce your email overload by limiting unnecessary emails, consolidating email threads into one merged conversation, and using other communication tools for less important messages. It can also be useful to unsubscribe from all undesired communications, such as newsletters and outreach emails.
8. Use Email Templates and Rules
Canned response templates and rules can help you and your teams save time and improve efficiency. Teams can use templates for common messages, such as welcome emails or frequently asked questions. You can also use rules to filter out certain emails or assign specific ones to someone.
9. Use Labels and Folders to Organize Emails
Organizing emails by labels and folders can help your team keep their inboxes clean and ensure that important messages are easy to find. Team members can create labels and folders for specific projects, clients, or statuses.
Labeling and organizing emails in folders can also help team members prioritize their email tasks and keep track of their progress. For instance, a team member can set up a “priority” label to ensure they focus on the most important emails first.
10. Use To-Dos To Breakdown Emails in Tasks
If you can’t handle an email immediately, you should turn it into to-do item on your task list. This will help you keep track of important tasks and make sure nothing is forgotten. Some email clients, such as Missive, even allow you to add tasks directly within an email conversation, so you don’t have to leave the app. This makes email collaboration even easier, as you can easily assign emails or tasks to your colleagues.
By following these best practices and using collaboration tools designed specifically for email teamwork, teams can improve their email efficiency and facilitate effective collaboration. These practices can help reduce wasted time, missed deadlines, and frustration among your team.
Emails are an essential tool for communication, but they can also become overwhelming and inefficient if you don’t manage them properly. By understanding the problem of email overload and identifying common causes of inefficiency, you be able to take the steps to maximize your email efficiency and collaboration with your team.
The tips and tricks explored above can help make the most of your email communications.
In the end, the key to successful email management is finding a system that works for you and your team’s unique needs and workflows. By implementing these strategies you can take a step toward maximizing efficiency and collaboration in your email communications. So what are you waiting for? Start implementing these tips today and see how much more productive you can be!
Author: Ludovic Armand
Bio: Ludovic Armand is the Digital Marketing Lead at Missive. Before Missive, Ludovic worked for an eCommerce solution where he was responsible for content marketing.
You can follow him on LinkedIn.