One of the most common gripes business owners have is email management. Staying on top of emails can be a challenge when you’re short on time and up to your neck in running a business. But if you’re still up at midnight wading through emails or regularly forgetting to reply to emails, then missing appointments or even worse – losing business – then you’ve got a problem.
Fortunately, this is a problem that is simple to resolve. The only way to stop stressing over your inbox is to change the way you use the technology you are using (or misusing). With a few simple changes to how you use your inbox, you’ll get your emails under control in no time.
Office 365 has some of the best inbox management tools available, yet most small-to-medium business owners we work with don’t utilise these tools and therefore end up missing out on the time saving benefits. Here are a few to start utilising today:
Kill off junk emails with the Clutter folder
Time spent filtering through newsletters and group emails you may open and never read could be time spent better elsewhere. It may only take up 5 minutes of your day, but over a period of a year this could equate to more than 1300 minutes of lost productivity. While we recommend unsubscribing from any newsletters that don’t offer value to your life, Office 365’s Clutter folder intuitively filters emails like these into a Clutter folder, that you can browse at your leisure, freeing up your inbox to receive actionable, work-related emails only. Ultimately, the Clutter folder keeps your eye on the prize and empowers you to keep working, distraction-free on the task at hand.
Reduce conversational emails with Skype for Business
If you require a quick answer from a colleague, using the chat function in Skype for Business is a far better mode of communication than drafting and sending an email. Perfect for checking in to see how a report is going, checking to see if a colleague is ready to go to a meeting or asking quick questions that require a simple yes or no answer, Skype for Business can be used for so much more than just conference calls.
Read more on Skype for Business – Introducing Skype for Business – The Collaboration Tool You Never Knew You Needed
Schedule meetings the smart way
If you are still sending emails back and forth between multiple parties in order to schedule a meeting, you are wasting valuable time. Office 365’s shared calendars allows you to see the availability of your colleagues so you can schedule or reschedule meetings accordingly from your laptop, desktop or smartphone.
Reimagine your email attachments
One of the greatest benefits of using Office 365 is being able to link to a document saved in OneDrive. If multiple parties are working on a project that has documents that require editing or involvement from multiple parties, the old way of adding track changes and sending back and forth via email is time consuming and adds to inbox stress as the emails pile up. Cloud computing has changed all that and with Office 365 you can simply link to a document saved in OneDrive and keep track of all the changes within the document saved in OneDrive. No more emailing back and forth attachments and no more searching through emails to find the version you sent to a colleague a week ago.
Having your inbox filled with ‘reply all’ emails that offer no value to your day is something many people know about. Whether it’s an email about the office footy tipping competition that you haven’t joined or a group email about a project you’re not involved in, just simply hit the ignore button and you’ll avoid the email bombardment. While not a new feature, it’s one that comes in handy to stop the flow of unnecessary emails into your inbox. While we don’t advise ignoring your colleagues (or your boss), in this case hitting the ignore button is justified!
Make use of Office 365 groups
Office 365 Groups is a nifty function that eliminates the ‘reply all’ email scenario altogether. Instead of adding people to an email chain, the group gets its own email address and people are added or removed from the group easily, where notifications can be turned on or off and all emails are kept in one tidy, easily-accessible place.
Read more on groups – Groups in Office 365 – Experience Stress-Free Collaboration