It is in my not so humble, yet professional opinion that employees should not send or receive personal email in the workplace, for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, this is an excellent way to invite viruses to your system. I was working for a company and used my home computer to transmit and receive emails. Just by connecting to their server, I am now receiving a tremendous amount of junk emails that I never received before. I am also unfortunately being bombarded with spy ware that I cannot remove without reformatting my hard drive. This is what can happen to your business email accounts if you tolerate personal email use.
Secondly, the workplace is just that — work. Do you really want your employees spending your hard-earned dollars sending out chain letters? No, I didn´t think so.
Make it very clear to employees that personal email is not acceptable at work, and monitor it daily. Address the policy in your employee handbook and have employees sign a form stating they understand the guidelines.
Aside from personal emails, another issue I find in larger organizations is the numerous informational messages sent throughout the day from many different employees. These messages include anything from who called in sick, to someone retiring, to general information, and after receiving 10 or more of these messages throughout the day, it can become quite distracting.
My suggestion to limiting these emails is to create an email template and assign it to one single point of contact. This could be the receptionist, the office manager — whomever you choose.
It should be sent out at the same time every day (around 9 a.m.) and should look something like this:
Thursday, 12 January 2006
Cindy Jones Out sick
Terry Matthews In 10 a.m. – Travel
Jody Williams Out 3 p.m. – Personal
Ginger Smith Vacation through 22 January
Todd Brown Conference in D.C. through 23 January, can be reached by email
Timesheets due to finance by COB today
401K updates due to Janice NLT Friday
Staff Meeting today 3 p.m. — Mandatory
Fred Davis — "Thank all of you for your prayers and support in our time of difficulty. We appreciate all you´ve done"
Have a safe day!
Instruct your employees that if they have something that needs to be addressed in an email to the entire organization, they should send the information to the point of contact, and that person will include it in the daily email.
Of course there will always be an exception during the day — someone needs help on a project, an emergency situation arises, etc. Still, this information needs to go through the person you have chosen as the point of contact to keep things on track.
Keep things simple, as always.
"It´s easier to stay out than get out." ~ Mark Twain