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Part VI: Managing E-Mail Overload > Organization-Wide E-Mail Management

Chapter 32. Organization-Wide E-Mail Management

  1. Establish and enforce a written e-mail policy.

    Help employees manage their e-mail by establishing clear guidelines for the appropriate use of the organization’s e-mail system, as outlined in the next section. Put teeth in your e-mail policy by enforcing it consistently, regardless of the violator’s rank or tenure. For further information, visit the authors’ Web site, www.epolicyinstitute.com.

  2. Establish clear guidelines for business and personal e-mail use.

    To limit employees’ personal use of the company e-mail system, establish clear guidelines for business and personal use. Use your written policy to notify employees that the organization’s e-mail system is provided for business use. If you permit personal use of the company system, be sure to spell out exactly what type and how much personal e-mail management authorizes. In the United States, employers handle personal e-mail use in five ways[34]:

    [34] American Management Association, 2001 Survey of Electronic Policies and Practices.

    39% allow full and unrestricted personal use of office e-mail

    24% ban all personal use of office e-mail

    21% allow full personal use with prior management approval

    7% permit personal use for emergencies only

    4% allow communication only with immediate family

    Employers who allow personal e-mail place the following time restrictions on employees:

    10% allow personal use of the e-mail system only during nonbusiness hours

    7% set specific time duration limits

    2% have time limits during business hours only

  3. Educate employees about e-mail use and electronic time management.

    Explain when e-mail should be used and when it should be avoided

    Address e-mail netiquette for employees and managers

    Discuss productivity concerns and other electronic risks

  4. Establish a document retention and deletion strategy.

    Half of the United States’ largest corporations and national associations lack a formal policy for naming, archiving, or purging electronic files.[35] Critical to effective e-mail management is establishing a document retention and deletion policy that spells out for employees how to categorize files, where to store files, and when and how to destroy files. If there is a workplace lawsuit, your document retention and deletion policy will play a critical, and potentially costly, role. Because there is no one-size-fits-all retention and deletion policy that works for all organizations, employers should consult with a legal expert experienced with electronic document management.

    [35] Ibid.

  5. Control what you can centrally.

    Assign limited e-mail space on your file server. Reduce mailbox size, and employees who tend to over-save mail will simply run out of room. Install software that allows your e-mail administrator to empty employees’ delete folders automatically.

  6. Install content security and policy management software.

    Reduce e-mail overload with filtering software designed to get the spam out of your system. Install policy management and content security software to ensure employees are complying with written e-mail policy and using your system and their time appropriately and productively. For the authors’ recommended software vendors, visit www.epolicyinstitute.com



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