These days, we have all sorts of gadgets, gizmos and interactive devices that connect us to one another. What most of us don’t have – as evidenced by far too many Dear Prudence columns on topic - is a sense of the etiquette around these things. Pulling out smartphones at restaurants, cc:ing our entire team on emails, and not adding personal context to LinkedIn invitations are just a few of the many, many examples that frustrate people on the other end of our electronic interactions.
The solution is not so far-fetched. Just as society has come up with norms for spam phone calls and potluck dinners, we will have accepted behaviors around electronic communications soon enough. In an effort to spur that along, we’re proposing a single attitude about internal office emails. We call it a smart email culture.
The Definition of a Smart Email in Culture (in 94 Words)
A smart email culture is a set of commonly agreed-upon norms or rules adopted by a group of people who often interact with each other via email. The goal is to make everyone who follows this rule set more efficient with their time and more structured in their day. Ideally, having a smart email culture means becoming more productive and getting more time to focus on doing work instead of gathering information about it. A smart email culture is (1) memorialized/written down somewhere; (2) common knowledge amongst the team and (3) not overly prescriptive.