Last week reminded me of how busy the last quarter always is, and no matter how much you pre-plan, you cannot avoid overload. I ended up having four workshops and talks in three days – one on brand, another on communication, a third on change and transformation and a final one on wellness at work. By the time I was delivering the last presentation I knew that I was delivering with such sincerity about the importance of maintaining balance when busy!
A brand is an experience, and how we communicate plays such a large part in developing a professional brand. So much of what we do in business is judged by how professionally we manage our email communication. In our efforts to get through the work we sometimes don’t stop to think about the impressions we are creating.
The old days of working 40 hours in a five-day week are over. Recent research has reflected that a working work stretches from Monday to Monday, and on average we are working 60 hours a week. Drilling down, we discovered it is because so often we catch up on email after hours, thereby stretching our work time. Our increased use of technology means that the business landscape pressurises us with elevated expectations – people expect answers instantaneously, plus have no problem contacting us in private time. In addition, we sit on average 9.3 hours a day and only sleep 7.7 hours. So what happened to rest and relaxation and that old average of an eight-hour working day?
Changing the way we use email takes a concerted effort, and a few gems were discussed. Consider making these simple changes:
- Avoid hitting ‘reply all’ unless absolutely necessary.
- Consider using the telephone, unless you need a factual trail.
- Write professionally.
- Think carefully about the impact of your words.
- Write simply and succinctly, and ensure that you will be understood, to avoid further unnecessary emails.
- Lead by example. Do not respond to mails when cc’d, or just to acknowledge.
- Do not use mail to merely cover your back, or copying senior people to make yourself look good.
Start a movement – you will be rewarded with fewer mails and more free time!