Are you having difficulty keeping on top your inbox? Have you ever overlooked a call-for-action that was hidden within a confusing email? Does it feel like you sometimes spend more time exchanging emails about a suitable meeting time than you spend at the meeting itself?
There is plenty of guidance out there on managing your inbox, email etiquette and “best practice” and Outlook offers plenty of time-saving solutions. Why not try out some of the following tips to simplify and improve communications with work colleagues?
The Outlook calendar can save you time when arranging meetings. If colleagues don’t currently use the calendar you could encourage them by using it yourself to send out meeting requests, to notify them of committee meetings and other appointments or, if a colleague asks for a meeting say “look in my calendar and send me an invitation”.
If you are sending a time-sensitive email, such as a meeting reminder or prompt for feedback, you can add an expiry date so that the email is automatically removed from the recipient’s inbox after a specified date. Recipients won’t waste time reading out-of-date emails and those returning from a period of leave will be thankful.
If you are working over the weekend or late at night think about how this might impact on others. You may inadvertently make them feel pressurised into responding outside of standard working hours themselves. You can set a rule so that the email you type at midnight only leaves your inbox at a specified time the next day. Alternatively, why not save the email in your draft folder and send later.
You can flag messages that you send so that the recipient knows that action is required and can also include a reminder so that an alert dialogue box appears when follow-up is due. Use with discretion as some staff might not appreciate it although it can be very useful for colleagues you work well with!