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What's your company's email policy?

Carrie Scott's Profile

We've found that employees email inboxes are out of control. We want them to delete all the unnecessary emails, but we don't have a firm policy in place. I'd love to hear what others are doing in their companies.


Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

In a company I previously worked for, all emails were automatically deleted by the system after 90 days.

Pamela Wise
Title: Director/General Accounting
Company: The E.W. Scripps Company
(Director/General Accounting, The E.W. Scripps Company) |

We outsourced our email maintenance to MicroSoft a few years ago. This allowed us to implement MicroSoft's 24 month retention policy on emails. Emails in any folder will be deleted after 24 months automatically. We received notice a few months before this was implemented so we had time to "clean up" our emails. If we want to keep any now, we need to stay on top of it and save it somewhere else.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

I have worked with both of the above approaches, and like them. At a minimum, Pamela's approach is good for risk management as a "least restrictive" policy. Mark's is, from that perspective, a more optimal approach. Generally, emails are corp docs, and you should have a retention policy of some sort. "Retention" generally means "sort what you must keep, and purge the rest".

Additional limiter that I've worked with, and found both annoying and effective, is a data-max policy. Say 1 gig in your inbox. That sounds silly on the surface, but it incents the behavior that docs go through a doc process, and that you don't use your email system as your personal DMS, which is bad on a bunch of levels.

What I have found more effective in a broader scheme is training. Train people on how to manage their email, just as you should train them on how to use the phone, manage time, file paperwork, etc. Email management is simply a skill that needs to be developed, and we benefit from developing our employees.

Ping me if you need an email policy...I can dig up one that I did last year, but there are good templates out there, so I see it more as an implementation challenge (company appropriate standards, rules, and associated training).

(Manager) |

Everywhere I've worked has set a size limit for the email server storage. A notice is automatically generated when it gets close to being full, then once it's full another notice is generated and at that time no emails can be received. And certain folders automatically delete after a set number of days (trash, junk, etc).

It is helpful to provide instructions for everyone on how to save the emails to other locations. An important email does not need to sit in the inbox, it can be saved to the client file or project file. You can have folders that are accessible through your inbox, but reside in a location other than the email server.

A previous employer deleted any email after only 6 months that was saved on the email server - this forced everyone to adopt new habits of saving the emails to other folders. It wasn't really a big deal, though. They held training and showed everyone how to set it up, gave notice for when the changes would be implemented, and sent out a few reminders before it happened.

David Dobrin
Title: President
Company: B2B Analysts, Inc.
(President, B2B Analysts, Inc.) |

Yeesh. None of this makes any sense at all. Human beings delete e-mails according to their own schedule, because human beings are sensible. Managers, on the other hand seem to lose IQ every day they're in office. Run a simple calculation, guys. Figure out how much time it costs per e-mail for any of your highly-paid employees to delete e-mails. Figure out how much it costs for cloud storage forever of that e-mail.

Say, for instance, I make a solid $60.00/hour. It takes me 3 seconds to look at an e-mail and decide whether to delete it, etc. It's about 4KB. Let me see, let me see. That's 1/1200 of 6000 or $.05. At $10/month for 10 gigabytes (Apple rates for consumers, not real rates), that's about, let me see, let me see, $.05 would buy you 20 years of storage.

You know that Disney song, "Let It Go?" Let it go, guys. Let it go.

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