Should Email Be a Minimum Job Requirement?

Once upon a time, email was suppose to make the workplace more efficient.

However, at many companies today, email takes up more time than it saves.  It actually reduces company efficiency.

Email misuse (and abuse) can quickly bring a workplace’s productivity to a stand still.

The irony is that most email chaos is self-inflicted… by your own employees.

So, I ask, “Should email skills be a minimum job requirement?”

Should Email Be A Job Requirement?

We look for lot of things in job screenings.  Communication skills.  Analytical skills. Leadership.

However, email skills (and etiquette) probably isn’t something that is covered.

When email can take up to 20-30% of a workplace’s time, shouldn’t it be something to be concerned about?

In many workplaces, some people make a career of sending emails.  Others send send red hot emails meant to set the recipients on fire.  Some send spam to almost everyone in the company.

Do you really want to hire these email chaos makers?

Are These Emailers Disrupting Your Company?

Here are just a few of the email “characters” that are probably lurking in your company:

The Busy Body – This person routinely sends 100, 200 or more email messages a day.  They can quickly drown an organization with communication overload.  They are mired in 10,000 tasks at once and expect the rest of the company to be doing the same.

The Non-Techie – This is the stereotypical non-using employee.  I once worked with a VP who couldn’t even access his email.  He hardly responded to anything, ever.  He was basically cut off anytime he was on the road because he did not know how to access email remotely.

The Etiquette Monster – Nothing zaps workplace productivity like the person who sends email zingers.  You know the type.  Flame mails.  ALL CAPS.  Red fonts. Anything for effect.

The Spammer – We all know the type.  They are the first to send out the latest joke, video, or link of the day.  And IT wonders where that latest virus came from…

The Shuffler – The shuffler is a master at passing-the-buck, or more specifically passing their work via email.  They are infamous for getting other people to do their work by sending it off via email.  Amazingly, when it comes to email, many people are bold enough to delegate up the chain.

The Communicator – The communicator sends lots of emails to look busy. They believe they more they communicate, the more people will think they are accomplishing.  Communicators especially like sending status updates to senior members of the organization.  Their motto is the “more people who get my email, the more people who realize I am important.”

What About Your Workplace?

How does your workplace compare?  Is email a help or a hindrance to productivity?

Do you recognize some of these email disrupters in your environment?

Does your company tolerate these types of behavior?

Does email increase or decrease your workplace’s efficiency?  Please share your workplace stories below in the comments.

Related Articles:

TMN’s 9 Laws of Work Email

5 Reasons Email Is the New Snail Mail

7 Ways to Be Ruthless With Your Email

8 thoughts on “Should Email Be a Minimum Job Requirement?

  1. Email is absolutely a required skill. I've read of rules of productivity where you only read your emails 2x per day, but I don't find that practical. Additionally, I'm never sure which form of communication to use in a specific situation. Here's a post that offers a bit of guidance. http://bit.ly/bPD1os

  2. Great post. I am very happy to have come across your blog via twitter.

    However, when you underline your subheadings I anticipate a link, perhaps to one of you other posts, and it is quite disappointing, and sometimes even distracting, that there is no link there.

  3. I just want to add that I schedule reward breaks to visit your blog and zenhabits.net. After reading a post or two I feel inspired and focused again.

    I love that I have managed to turn blog reading from time consuming procrastination to something that actually makes me strive to finish my tasks in time.

  4. The one you missed Craig- the IM/texter: the youngster who just got out of college and has been introduced to this antiquated thing called email. Their abbreviated emails go something like: ” IMO yr work sux. Pls revise. Thx.” 🙂

    In all seriousness though, the one I would relate to the most is The Commuicator. Those people send out emails at 10pm on Saturday just so other people know they are always plugged in and “busy”.

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