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Managing E-mail

There are many benefits to electronic mail (e-mail). It can improve productivity and increase communication speed. It allows for wide distribution with the push of a button. Distance is no longer a barrier. E-mail is less expensive than the traditional letter when you consider the time to type the document, proof it, address the envelope, stamp and mail it. There is a downside to e-mail, however. This wonderful breakthrough can be a source of distraction and frustration, especially for those who get upwards of 100 e-mail messages a day. When added to the fax, telephone, voice mail, pager, traditional mail and overnight services, there are now so many communication channels that communication is actually hindered. Problems can also occur when people do not receive adequate training in how to use and manage e-mail effectively.

Cautions

Electronic mail is not a secure or confidential medium of communication. Within corporations, having a private password is not guarantee of confidentiality. Ultimate ownership of the equipment, and therefore the messages sent on that equipment, often belongs to the company. Even erased messages can be retrieved from automatic daily backups. The 1986 Electronics Communications Privacy Act in the United States ruled that employers are entitled to read and monitor their employees’ electronic mail. Recently, a government employee who used the internal mail system to distribute a questionable document discussing Ebonics was fired. Avoid anything that can be construed as contributing to a hostile work environment.


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