The Mail Stops For No One

Daily correspondence is a necessity. But failure to manage it properly can snuff out productivity.


Anyone who’s ever sat through a meeting to prepare for a meeting might agree that, yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Even if that good thing is the correspondence that keeps an organization alive and on track in its operations.

Despite a substantial hit from an increase in social media, email still consumed 8.3% of our time online in 2010, and the evolution of texting and Smartphone technology means we’re never really offline like we used to be.

                              &n​bsp;     Clip Courtesy of NBC's Seinfeld

It seems like a manageable task, but for some, sending messages can be more stress-inducing  than public speaking. Embarrassing autocorrects (Warning: Not for the easily offended!) aside, many major email, text and messaging systems lack the ability to recall or delete a flubbed message, so grammatical errors, miscommunication, wrong recipients and overlooked items are a reality of office operations.

Working professionals can receive hundreds of emails, calls and texts per day, much more than they can effectively manage.  Communication overload in your branch or office can damage not just the reputation of the cooperative with members but sabotage interactions with colleagues, business partners and even your potential employee base. (That black hole where job applications go to disappear may hurt you more than you know)

Have non-member-facing employees consider these steps from the book “Getting Things Done.” They include relying on search functions rather than trying to categorize and folder every item, and blocking communication from businesses and individuals they don’t really need.

In many cases, blocking may not be an option, but it pays for employees to be choosey with responses and the channels they use for them. For outside communication, consider dedicated email addresses or online features to collect specific types of correspondence, like technical issues or member feedback. A great example of this would be GTE Federal Credit Union’s Talk2Joe website feature

These channels allow a majority of issues and inquiries to be addressed by the correct person or team. That means no more drowning in non-applicable information and no more forwarding inquiries on to the correct individual.

And while many institutions are hesitant to utilize IM in the workplace for fear it will be abused, studies suggest the technology can preserves connectedness in an office environment (remote site included) and may be less disruptive than in-person visits, phone conversation, or email with pop-up notifications.  IM also allows users to indicate their level of availability, and received information is more quickly handled, shared and managed.