6 Steps to Better Email Management

July 09, 2018 by Jatheon

Email (still) works. It’s a key business tool and a vital online communication system for individuals and businesses all over the world. But was there ever a day when you were satisfied with the state of your inbox?

Everyone says they’re getting too much email. Snowed under other tasks, who has the time to meticulously and regularly clean their inbox? Or should we say, inboxes, because the average number of email accounts is now close to 2 per user. As email grew, so did the methods and strategies attempting to rein it in and help users take back the control of their time. There’s Inbox Zero, Inbox 50, the OHIO principle and services such as Boomerang, Superhuman, MixMax, Streak and a hundred others.

But not every app or service works for everyone. Finding the one that suits you best can be a time and energy drain. In other words – overdo it, and it’ll backfire. In her email management article from earlier this year, writer Lindsey Lanquist provided the crucial piece of advice: “Don’t get so hung up on email management apps that you start wasting more time than you’re saving. The point of keeping your email organized is to save time by making things easier to find and stay on top of.”

Your Email Challenges

On the other hand, it’s normal to feel email anxiety and distraction in the era of email overload. According to projections by Washington Post, the average worker will spend 47,000 hours over the course of their career on handling email. That’s a terrifying 28% of the work week. A recent report by Radicati shows that the global number of emails exchanged daily has reached 270 billion and is growing at such a rate that it will have exceeded 310 billion by 2021. So what are the biggest email challenges enterprises are facing today?

Clients

Depending on your business, preferences and unique needs, your organization probably uses Exchange, Office 365 or Gmail. As standalone systems, they work seamlessly. But businesses need records to be properly managed in a single, unified or controlled location that can be accessed easily but that offers security and can guarantee that the email data will remain tamper-proof at all times.

You can’t rely on an email client alone if you receive an eDiscovery request for a pending lawsuit. Email clients have built-in storage settings and limited capabilities. You can customize them, but they will never provide enough storage or structure for business needs nor will they ever match the complexity and comprehensiveness offered by dedicated solutions.

Devices

There are many different ways to access your email these days. Whether you use a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, you’re still getting the same mail. Some systems store a small amount of email locally while the rest remains in the cloud or on a business server. This all runs smoothly for the user and allows you to pick up email anywhere. But what this means is that your business emails could be stored, in some form, across multiple devices. If you need to track down one of those emails, you’ll need to have a unified email storage management system. Without it, managing email across devices could give you a major headache.

Storage Locations

Depending on how they use email, companies could have important email content stored in many different places. You could have some data backed up in the cloud or you might use tape backup. You may not use backup at all and rely on your email client or online provider to retain your email. As a business, your email storage management needs to be more sophisticated than that. You need to establish control over your email history and find the way to access it efficiently. For proper corporate email management, you need a single, unified email backup. These complications may seem trivial to the average user. But for businesses email to work, email storage needs to work too.

As a business, you need to establish control over your email history and find the way to access it efficiently. #EmailManagement #Email Click To Tweet

Servers

With email’s popularity in the workplace, email servers are battling to keep up. An average corporate email account receives about 120 emails a day, 20% of which are spam and newsletters. Email servers are straining under the pressure to deliver and store all this information.

Facing the problems with inbox overload, regulatory compliance and lack of storage space, most companies do a poor job of maintaining their email integrity and efficiency. Piling up of emails, poor folder hierarchies and the absence of a systematic approach to email organization leads to mail server degradation, which imposes a higher threat for the business operation on the whole.

For #business email to work, email storage needs to work too. #EmailArchiving Click To Tweet

Six Tips for Better Email Management

Before you resort to email management apps and add-ons, here are some essential tips on how to reduce your email overload and improve storage management.

1. Email Is Happier Together

You found a better email provider but it’s too much work to change your subscriptions? Multiple email addresses causing you headaches? Most email clients have a simple solution. You can set up a system so that different email addresses all deliver to one central account. Problem solved. If you’re not sure how to do this, a quick Google search will help you out.

2. Declutter Your Inbox

Your inbox can become a haven for hundreds of unwanted emails, a to-do list or an archive for old emails. None of these works long-term, especially keeping emails in your mailbox forever. If you can’t delete email for compliance or eDiscovery purposes, but your company imposed an email quota, hitting the dead end is inevitable. To manage your inbox better, create folders to file away your emails so that they can be organized either by priority, sender or importance. This will help you manage your workload and declutter your inbox.

3. Talk About Security and Use Spam Filters

Email is the most common method of business communication, and thus contains some sensitive and private data. A recent research pointed out that 75% of business-critical information is contained in email. There are several things you can do to improve security, but most importantly, it is essential to have a strong password and be careful when dealing with spam emails. They often contain attachments or links that can be harmful to your privacy or your computer.

Email is undoubtedly a big part of many businesses’ daily operations. However, it can be notoriously unproductive at the same time, causing distractions, clogging up servers and attracting spam every hour of the day. So how can we make our business email a productive tool in our daily operations?

Spam filters are the saving grace of inboxes around the world. Whether you set up your own or your hosted email provider has one built into their service, an effective spam filter will make all the difference for your business email.

4. Create an Email Policy

Very few companies have a regularly updated email retention policy. If you’re one of them, hats off to you, but you can always make a few tweaks to improve it. If, on the other hand, you’re part of the majority, take time to create an email policy. It is the only way to get all your coworkers on board and make it official.

An effective retention policy should address your company’s data retention guidelines, procedures and responsibilities. It should also include retention timeframes for all the different types of data you want to retain and retention schedules that everyone will be able to follow and remember easily.

Usage policies can also help in reducing email security risks. Outlining how email addresses are used online, what information is shared via email and the types of transactions that are conducted can ensure that a stray email isn’t the cause of a security breach in the future.

Make your retention policy short and simple. The less complicated the policy, the more uniform your archives will be. Finally, make sure you review it annually. Laws and regulations change, and your policy needs to reflect that.

Review your #email retention policy annually. Laws and regulations change and your policy needs to reflect that. #EmailArchiving Click To Tweet

5. Define the CC Policy and Limit Group Discussions

This email overload reducing measure is often forgotten when creating an email policy. When staff send requests to other departments or external parties, are they required to CC a colleague or superior? Do they do it anyway? Is this a vital step?

Each time you CC someone on a mail, you’re creating a copy of message that will need to be archived or deleted, so you need to make sure every CC is justified and worthwhile so that storage space isn’t wasted. The same goes for group discussions. Even when these conversations are about vital business decisions, there will always be people who end up included in every message but aren’t actively participating in the discussion. Always ask yourself if an issue requires an email discussion? Consider holding a group Skype chat or have a meeting/video call together. It may seem easier to ping emails back and forth but all you’re doing is adding to the email overload.

6. Start Archiving Email

Your enterprise email can become overwhelming and create a load that’s taking up precious server space. Email can pile up and cause eDiscovery and general convenience problems that can take considerable amounts of time and money to sort out. If your organization operates in a regulated industry such as financial, healthcare of education, you also face certain compliance issues. Thankfully, there is a solution that can help you respond to all these challenges.

Email archiving provides a scalable, searchable and secure email storage solution that is for everyone. Most large enterprises in regulated industries choose to keep their email archive in house for increased security and oversight. SMEs, on the other hand, have a more limited IT infrastructure, which is why they typically opt for cloud-based archiving solutions.

Email archiving solutions offer multiple benefits in terms of email management. When you archive email, a copy of each message – outgoing, incoming or internal – is made, indexed and archived on a dedicated solution. This means that you can go on an inbox-cleaning binge without worrying that you’ll delete something that will come back to haunt you later. Every message in your email archive is stored with all necessary metadata, which is a prerequisite for successful eDiscovery.

Relieving the pressure on your email server and transferring the responsibility of email storage to a dedicated solution is the most effective way to keep your email server performing at optimal levels. Without the added pressure of storing emails and performing searches, your email server is better equipped to deliver and receive your business emails. Moreover, archiving solutions have storage reduction features like deduplication that help you store a lot of data by using as little storage as possible.

Last but not least, archiving solutions have customizable email policy tasks and compliance and security features, which truly makes them the number one email management tool for both small businesses and large enterprises.

In conclusion, making your business email work for you can streamline your daily operations and considerably improve your staff efficiency and productivity. By taking a few simple organizational steps combined with set-it-and-forget-it archiving technology, your email could be transformed from a communication platform to an optimized productivity tool that you can view as an asset rather than a liability.

Jatheon is a worldwide leader in email, social media and mobile communications archiving technology. To learn how Jatheon can help you implement an archiving solution and improve email management, contact us or schedule your personal demo.

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