Emails are more complex than most people give them credit for. With internal use for businesses, these firms can’t afford to underestimate or underutilise them.
Of course, some people even dread receiving emails from their colleagues. It’s hard to fault them for that in certain circumstances – they can be filled with spam, sent at inconvenient times, and contain dull content to read!
So, it’s clear that many firms must approach emails differently to make the most of them. If your company needs to reexamine things, read on for tips on optimising internal email usage.
Attach Files Effectively
Nobody wants to receive an email, or a succession of them, filled with dozens of different attachments. Such will lead to headaches very quickly.
Fortunately, PDF merging tools can help here. Find a reputable provider online. All you need to do is drag and drop your files into the outlined space, and they’ll become one single file instead. Swap the pages’ order to ensure everything is presented succinctly. After that, working life is made easier for all.
Of course, not every file is worth sending, either. There’s no harm in reevaluating whether some data should be sent, especially if your firm prioritises compartmentalisation with its information (and it probably should). Attachments can punch up an email or drag it down, and making that distinction is your firm’s responsibility.
You can also use state-of-the-art PDF tools to convert, compress, and otherwise optimise files as well, making them easier to send via email. It greatly reduces the time required to upload and download files this way, and allows you to embed images and improve security measures too. All email content is consumed precisely as you intend, and no data gets misplaced or lost in translation.
Offer Great Structure
Nobody wants to open emails and be met with a wall of text. Even if you believe all of the information you’ve presented is necessary, there’s a better way to go about things.
To mitigate this problem, you could:
- Present some of the email text (typically lengthy instructions) in attachment form to break things up.
- Use bullet points wherever you can to keep the message as concise as possible.
- Focus on effective paragraphing to ensure your message has flow and is digestible.
- Put parts of the text in bold to highlight crucial nuggets of information.
- Redirect workers to collaboration platforms and project management tools for more detailed instructions and correspondence, with the email briefly introducing a task otherwise.
Structuring your email effectively shows that you’ve thought about the content and considered the recipient’s position. You haven’t just dumped a stack of incomprehensible information with them but thought about readability.
Eliminate Annoying Language
Corporate environments used to be bleak and soulless. Today, there’s a sense that professionals need to become more empathetic and accessible. The language used in emails is a key part of upholding that image.
Contrary to what used to be a popular opinion, a dependency on jargon and buzzwords won’t save employees time. In fact, if workers are inexperienced or have taken time out of the workforce, complex terminology can lead to confusion and frustration. Of course, many workplace phrases are merely hot air at the best of times anyway, so it’s best to prioritise direct and clear communication that everybody can understand.
Indeed, using buzzwords and jargon can annoy email recipients, with some even ranking them based on the level of aggravation caused. Though one buzzword may irritate more than another, it’s best to omit their use entirely wherever possible.
Remember, there’s nothing relatable about obscure and industry-focused turns of phrase. While some jargon might be necessary if there’s no common language substitute, basic language is more likely to make workers feel confident in what they’re doing and establish common ground between everyone faster.
Be Mindful of CC Use
Some workers use the CC function in emails liberally. They like people to know (often their superiors) they’re being productive and presenting themselves well.
However, CCing everyone into a company email will be an unnecessary distraction in most cases. Consequently, it’s worth reevaluating who truly needs to receive the correspondence before sending it. If people are CCing others into emails purely for extra kudos or to intimidate others, it can quickly create a toxic and uncomfortable workplace atmosphere.
Set firm rules on CCing practices. After all, even if a CC or reply all function has been used once appropriately, a long email chain can soon mean things descend into chaos. Encourage employees to double-check that they haven’t accidentally clicked ‘reply all’ instead of just ‘reply’, too, as mistakes can easily be made.
It’s also worth stressing the importance of discretion and confidentiality in a business context too. What might seem like a harmless CC at first can potentially be a serious breach of company security, depending on the context of the information shared. Try to take these matters seriously and instruct employees to follow suit.
Schedule Emails Well
You shouldn’t email anyone before or after work hours. Though it can seem reasonable to think ‘they’ll read this when they get a moment’, hearing and seeing alerts will often nudge recipients into opening an email immediately, even if they don’t want to – especially if it’s work-related!
2021 saw speculation about whether it should be made illegal for bosses to contact employees outside of working hours, which is worth thinking about even two years later. Similar considerations should be paid to the client side of things, too. People feel strongly about these practices and demand firm boundaries from everyone they correspond with.
Will people closely read an email that’s been sent to them at an inconvenient time? Might they remember to revisit it? Are they likely to follow through with any calls to action? The answer to all of these questions is likely no.
Working from home can blur boundaries, too. Fortunately, emailing software enables users to draft emails and schedule when they want them to be sent through automation. Use those features to get your ideas out as they come, then program them to send during working hours.
Replace Tired Processes with Email
Company processes can be clogged with time-wasting activities. Everybody knows it, yet for some reason, these redundancies can persist and bog down everybody’s workload.
More meetings are being arranged in workplaces today. That said, it’s quite common for people to drag their feet out of them with the same old thought rattling around in their minds; ‘this meeting could have been an email quite easily’. Such an opinion should no longer be a private thought or shameful secret but a reliable suggestion for a change in the process.
Many benefits come from emailing instead of throwing a full-blown meeting. They are:
- Proving that you respect your worker’s time.
- Giving employees a written record of important points raised, rather than expecting them to determine those parts and make notes themselves.
- Sharing the information with colleagues absent for any reason so that nobody misses out.
- Being more likely to receive questions from colleagues who don’t need to engage in public speaking and can respond in their own time after fully formulating their questions.
One could even speculate that replacing most meetings with a well-made email could save the company money, as workers can review the correspondence in five minutes rather than spend thirty minutes in a conference room. Workers’ time can be saved, which could improve their moods and enhance their productivity.