Monday, September 18, 2006

Email Performance

I know someone at work who has problems with email. There are things that can block your ascension in a company, and it occurs to me that improper email management is now one of those stumbling blocks.

Back when I was getting out of school, email was not something that everybody really knew. I mean, people had email, but it was not part of every day work. Now, if you cannot manage your inbox, you are toast. If you neglect too many message of those who can affect your career, you may be looking for another job. And they will not say that it is email management either. It is just the mismanagement of email is attributed to other bad traits – unresponsive to others, can't prioritize, whatever.

Okay, email is important. A lot of people sit on email, and I think you can really change how people view you with your email. If you don't spell-check, if you always use fragmented sentences, if you send porn, that affects how people view you as a professional. If you forward jokes, people will think you are not serious enough. If you forward stupid stuff that looks important (the email that ends up with the stealing of an organ comes to mind), people will think you are gullible.

I have heard of someone, a physician, who has someone on staff who prints out all of his email. He sometimes will hand write a note, and the person types the information in a return email. To those who don't know it, the physician knows how to use email. This is half of the person's job. So the physician spends $15-20 K per year because he knows the importance of email. He just does not want to learn how to use it himself. Although this is a particular example, it quantifies how important one person takes his email.

I remember someone, a long time ago, who said they would not learn this "computer thing." That is everyone's prerogative. Similarly, one can all make the decision to shoot one's own foot or not. The decision is yours. Personally, I am not going to damage a perfectly good pair of shoes.


Prata said...

I, by principle, do not return e-mail promptly at work. E-mail is a communication tool, and certainly is not a storage facility as most people seem to think. Corporate culture seems to view e-mail as first line contact and everything else as secondary and/or even tertiary. I'm a technical individual, I live and die by my e-mail with regards to communicating with people outside of my job.

At work I have a phone. It's faster than typing e-mail and there is tonation when speaking. If people want to communicate with me at work, they should and most do, call me. Why do I take this stance, being the technical individual that I am? Because I work. E-mail is for downtime, when I am sitting at my desk eating lunch or some other such thing (as I can not simply sit at my desk and assume that my work will be completed). Most of the time I am runnin' about across the different divisions fixing computers (actually working) which means the phone is the fastest mode of communication, page me I call back. Call my mobile, I answer, send me e-mail and you will get a response when I get the chance to read it. That's simply the way it is. I have various complaints from people about that. My response to that is, "E-mail is not real time. You will not receive a real time response from me. The phone is real time, you will receive a real time response from me."

Edge said...

I think I want my doctor to focus on medicine and not computers. It might come in handy when he needs to save my life. I don't think he'll need to send an email when he's pounding on my chest to bring me back to life.


mal said...

cell phones, pagers, faxes, desktops, portables and ALL the stuff that comes with them has happened since I graduated. They are wonderful tools and really do speed communications.

The downside? In a work environment they can depersonalize communications and certainly truncate the undertones we all pick up in live or telephone communications. I have seen more than one innocent e mail start a flame war because of it.

This bad enough with in the work place. It is a horrible thing to do with customers.

Grant said...

I hate phones, and much prefer e-mail for work. The best thing about it is it proves what was said. I've been involved in that this morning - people higher up the food chain said I dropped the ball, and I was able to produce proof that I did my job, handed it to them for resolution, and they didn't do their bit. E-mail management rules!

Edtime Stories said...

I would die without my email. I even check it from my phone. However there is something about the general ease of communication that makes it abusable constantly. I think it has become another tool that people will come to depend on if they aren't already.

As for not doing the "computer thing" there are many I know who do just as you described. I am stunned by those people.

Sheen V said...

I pretty much limit work e-mail to either sending data or document so the recipient won't have top scribble numbers down over the phone, or to inform a group of people of something, like data.

Prata said...

I rarely have to work with people, so that is probably why e-mail is not important to me within the work place. I always document everything, but that hardly requires an electronic thing. Also, every command I run on the system is logged, with a timestamp, so keeping track of when I did what is not an issue in the face of logs. ^_^ Glee!

Tony said...

There's currently over 20,000 employees where I work. Email is vital. As with anything else it is also subject to over use and abuse. The best time to answer email is in the morning in the shower or while driving to and from work.