Why You Should Use an Open Email System in Your Company

    By Chuck Cohn | Small Business

    Miscommunication can wreak havoc in the workplace, as you may know all too well. Your team may send multiple emails each day, yet information still seems to slip through the cracks. No one wants to be that person — the team member who directs emails to individuals who don’t need to be included — so your team may opt to be overly cautious when addressing email threads. The result? Key team members are uninformed about important decisions.

    While there are several ways to solve this problem, the most convenient option may be an open email system. An open email system enables emails to be visible to all team members with little effort on the part of the sender. Internal emails are searchable, and individual team members can opt out of specific emails and responses. Open email systems can thus be powerful timesavers.

    Switching to an open email system can be difficult, however, and it’s important to consider the benefits and weaknesses of such a platform first.

    The Benefits of Open Email

    Verifying whether a team member forwarded an invoice to a client or whether another individual received information from a vendor can take a great deal of time and effort to resolve. Answering hundreds of such messages each day undoubtedly decreases company efficiency.

    Open email systems provide:

    1. Coordination. It is far simpler to coordinate schedules and tasks if you are aware of what the rest of your team is doing. Open systems allow you to CC or BCC lists. For example, emailing a design proposal draft to a client and Bcc’ing your team lets you remain the primary contact while also keeping relevant team members informed.
    2. Transparency. Everyone views the inner workings of the business — not just the portion with which they are directly involved. This can reduce conflict and increase solidarity.
    3. Subscriptions. Open systems allow team members to subscribe to relevant lists. For example, individuals who subscribe to @marketing will receive marketing-related emails with minimal effort from the sender.
    4. Search capabilities. Users can search their inbox and outbox using specific keywords so they have access to information whenever they need it.
    5. Efficiency. Day-to-day announcements can be distributed via email, rather than announced in meetings.
    6. Synergy. By making emails accessible to all team members, you share best practices with the entire business. Everyone can appreciate the hard work that goes into managing a client if they see the difficulties firsthand.

    The Weaknesses of Open Email

    Before transitioning to an open system, consider the following drawbacks:

    1. Email overload: Everyone’s inboxes will be inundated with emails. Filters, labels, lists, and searches are a necessity.
    2. Sensitivity: Certain emails require privacy. Though an open email system allows you to send and receive personal emails, automatically including lists can become a difficult habit to break.
    3. Leaks: Your company’s secrets can easily become public with this type of system. A culture of trust is the best way to reduce the risk of a disgruntled team member seeking payback.
    4. Investment: Establishing a reliable open email system immediately requires a wealth of time and resources.

    How to Switch Platforms

    An open email system may be a wonderful investment for your company. Here are several suggestions to simplify your transition:

    • Create lists. Lists ensure inboxes aren’t flooded with emails. Give team members the option to subscribe to lists that they believe will be useful to them.
    • Train individuals. Provide your team members and external contacts with the time and information they will need to acclimate to the new system.
    • Constantly improve. Listen to your team’s thoughts on what works and what does not. Creating a strong open email system requires continual improvement. As your business grows, your email platform must evolve to meet your changing needs.

    Protecting our privacy often means we overlook the advantages of sharing information. An open email system can be a great solution to those frustrating day-to-day communication headaches, but it’s important to balance the risk that inherently comes with sharing openly, as well as to achieve employee buy-in. When done correctly, you can empower your team to find the information they need to be as productive and successful in their roles as possible.

    Image courtesy of Shutterstock

    This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Why You Should Use an Open Email System in Your Company

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