Thursdays at the Huffington Post, Rana Florida, CEO of The Creative Class Group, shares her conversations with successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders about how they manage their businesses, their relationships, their careers, and more. She also answers readers' questions about how they can optimize their lives. Send your questions about work, life, or relationships to firstname.lastname@example.orgDear Rana,
I'm a VP of Marketing for a global retailer. My job is very stressful, and I travel endlessly. But the people who work for me are driving me crazy. I hired them to make my life easier but all they do is create more work by filling up my inbox with hundreds of emails daily. I can't get to my real work: our clients, our board, the media, and partners when I am constantly catering to the unanswered needy replies of my core team. Please! What are some healthy tactics to reduce email stress?
Photo credit: Flickr user Da Reel P3
You are not alone! ABC News's Ki Mae Heussner did a story on email overload not too long ago. "According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive," she reported, "the magic number for many an employee is 50 a day. Once they head north of that number, most say they can't keep up."
Perhaps checking hundreds of emails a day isn't as stressful as being a social worker, an air traffic controller, or a pediatric surgeon, but the effects are still real. David Lavenda wrote in a recent piece for Fast Company, "Email overload is a well-documented phenomenon that has been linked to reduced productivity, inability to focus on important tasks, and even physical and emotional stress."
As someone who receives more than 250 email messages a day, I feel your pain. I constantly beg and plea with my team to ease up on my inbox.
First and foremost you need to ask yourself if you've empowered your team to do their job without checking in with you on every detail. If they know they have the authority to make their own decisions without repercussion, then they shouldn't be bombarding you with emails. I often tell my team that I trust them to do their job and don't need to be cc'd or fyi'd. And they know I really mean it.
In a previous position as VP of Corporate Communications, I distributed an "email etiquette" memo. Most of it is pretty basic but many associates need a stern reminder. Feel free to share it with your team.
In an effort to address the overwhelming number of emails and meetings, we are recommending the following guidelines.
The goal is to reduce unnecessary email, increase email effectiveness, and improve the quality of email correspondence. Of course, no set of rules supersedes good judgment -- there are always exceptions.
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