Written by Robin Bingeman on

LONDON – Many organisations and managers feel it is old-fashioned to write guidelines on how to use email. While it is a vital element in the business environment, many people don’t know how to use email well or understand the risks they run of using email inappropriately on the job.

“No one facet of social media has replaced email communications, especially when it comes to conducting business,” said Robin Bingeman of Cryoserver solutions of email archiving. “In fact, most employees spend at least a third of their time at work on email. But just because they use it frequently, doesn’t mean they use it properly or productively.”

One way to ensure employees are using emails in an appropriate manner is to let them know that they will be held accountable for everything they send – whether it’s professional or personal in nature, said the email archiving professional.

Cryoserver email archiving solutions stores everything in real time and places all emails sent to, from and within an organisation in a tamper-evident archive. Once in the archive the emails cannot be manipulated or deleted. Stored emails hold their own when used in a court of law for internal dispute and can protect an organisation during the e-Discovery process.

Take for instance a scenario involving a government employee who is accused of sending explicit emails to a fellow colleague in a harassing manner. When confronted, the accuser denied the allegations.

With a solution like Cryoserver in place the accuser would find it difficult to defend himself and the employer would have access to the emails, which would allow them to make an informed decision. If the victim was making false accusations, the employer could be reliant on Cryoserver to defend his or her case. Therefore, having a reliable archive can benefit either way.

“I think in cases such as this, employees would change their behavior and think twice before sending inappropriate emails if they knew their email communications were being recorded,” said Bingeman, who specialises in managing email data. “It would be hard for the sender to deny the emails if the emails were stored in an archive, rather than in the victim’s inbox, which he or she could have deleted.”

While most IT managers are passé about email etiquette, they should go over the basic guidelines such as:

  • Review before clicking send. Employees need to adopt the ready-aim-fire approach to communications, rather than write, send, then review. Advise them to read over what they wrote and do it from the point of view of the reader.
  • Avoid unnecessary “Reply All” emails. Employees need to think about who is on the Reply All list and determine if the response they are giving really applies to all.
  • Be mindful of your tone. Words in an email can get lost in translation, especially if you use sarcasm. Bend over backward to ensure what is being said is really what you mean.
  • Don’t forward chain emails.
  • Avoid jargon.

“If you fear an email may get you in trouble, don’t send it,” said Bingeman whose solution allows importing of emails. “Emails create the electronic equivalent of DNA. Even if your company doesn’t archive emails, the recipient might and in case of a lawsuit, they could be subpoenaed.”

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