We are drowning in a sea of email messages. Don't get me wrong I like email and can't do without. Email is great, it's quick, cheap, conveniently low threshold. Apparently it's a little bit to convenient for the sender, but when you are at the receiving end email becomes a monster that is getting harder and harder to control.
Increasingly my inbox is overflowing with messages that don't belong there and I bet so is yours. So let's stop abusing email.
1) Every message that you wouldn't put in an envelop you shouldn't email either.
2) Don't polute the receivers inbox, like magic your inbox will start to shrink too.
3) Don't email documents, they replicate over and over and take up valuable storage space, instead publish documents in a repository and point your co-workers, if you must, to the location.
4) Anything that warrants a group discussion moves to a 'discussion forum'.
5) If you want to comment you are welcome, but please don't comment emails.
5) If you have a need to inform more than one person at a time about the same subject put the announcement up on a wall. This also frees you from 'forgetting' to inform a specific person.
6) Everything that's not confidential should be available to your peers, in a forum, wiki, knowledge base etc.
7) Email is not for discussions nor comments.
8) Don't hit 'Reply All' without evaluating the points above.
Seriously we need to change our behaviour for the reasons stated above but also because we need to tap into the collective knowlegde of our co-workers. Organisations cannot afford to have information and knowledge locked up in personal email inboxes and 'private' email exchanges.
We all know that email is broken. So the first thing to do is you are serious about cutting down email is to deploy Social Office!
Social Office is your saviour, it has a low threshold for peers to work together. Social Offiuce delivers instantly a repository for documents, discussion forum, wiki, blog, announcement 'wall', activity stream, chat box and last but not least an availablility indicator. I invite you to do yourself and your co-workers a favour and check out Social Office.