Managing Your Email Inbox
To preserve the health and manageability of the college's email system, size quotas on user mailboxes have been assigned. As a user approaches his/her quota, the system will automatically send a daily warning message to that user. Once a user's mailbox exceeds its quota the mailbox will not be able to send or receive messages until space has been cleared. This means that many users will need to take a more disciplined approach to mailbox management.
Outlook email archival tools provide users with features that can assist in managing their mailbox size within reasonable limits. Creating PST files on network storage reduces the overall cost to the college and increases aggregate mailbox performance.
Email Best Practices
Email has become a ubiquitous tool for communication. Used properly, email can facilitate collaboration between individuals and rapid distribution of information. However, when used improperly email can instead cause a broad spectrum of problems, from minor annoyances to major security breaches. These suggestions from your Information Technology Services department may be useful in managing the flow of information in your mailbox.
Leverage Outlook Functionality to Manage Your Email
The Outlook client provides several mechanisms to search and sort messages into different views based on multiple criteria. Proper use of these utilities can help quickly locate important communications, or select messages which are no longer pertinent to college operations and can be safely deleted.
Develop an Efficient Workflow for Managing Incoming Email
What makes for the most effective email workflow is a subjective matter, but several documents published on the Internet related to the subject can help develop a clear idea.
Most published works orient around the 4 D’s: Delete, Do, Delegate, Defer:
- Delete messages you do not need.
- If you can act on a message in less than two minutes, do it.
- If a message can be quickly delegated to someone, do so.
- If a message can not be deleted, acted on, or delegated, defer it by moving it to another folder or creating an appointment or task from the message for reminders.
Use Attachments Intelligently
Email attachments are one of the most convenient methods of sharing files between individuals, but when used injudiciously they can cripple a mail system. Here are some guidelines to consider when using email attachments:
- Don’t send large files as attachments. While Exchange will allow sending email attachments under 20 MB, in practice users should consider alternate mechanisms such as SharePoint or departmental shares for sharing files if the files are more than a few megabytes in size.
- When it is necessary to retain attachments for college operations, save the attachment to another location (U: Drive, H: Drive, SharePoint and Google Drive) and delete the original email.
- Limit the number of attachments to five or fewer for a single email message.
- Be extremely judicious in sending attachments to multiple recipients, especially when those recipients are internal faculty or staff.
- Consider whether or not the information in your attachment could instead be incorporated in the body of the email you are sending. For example, rather than attaching a meeting agenda as a PowerPoint presentation, it could be embedded in the body of an appointment.
- Don’t open unexpected attachments or attachments sent by unknown parties. Email attachments are a common carrier for computer viruses.
- Remember, email is intended to be used for messaging, not document storage.
Keep Communication Concise and Professional
Users should observe some commonly accepted guidelines when using email.
- Use proper spelling and grammar.
- Keep email communication as short and to-the-point as possible.
- However, avoid Internet shorthand like “LOL” or “OMG” and other jargon which might be unfamiliar to recipients.
- Steer clear of the caps lock key. Messages in all caps are considered yelling.
- Use paragraph breaks where appropriate to create logical boundaries between thoughts and maximize legibility.
- Email signatures should be less than four lines, should not contain embedded html or pictures, and should not be included in internal emails.
- Use the Out of Office message when you are going to be away from your email for a day or more.
Use the Subject Line Effectively
Message subjects should briefly summarize the body of the message in a short phrase. As with the message body, the subject should generally adhere to sentence case rather than all capital letters.
- Do not send messages without a subject.
- Keep the subject to a few words.
Use CC and BCC Properly
The CC (Carbon Copy) and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) functions allow you to transmit an email to users who could benefit from the information contained, but are not expected to take action on the contents. Before using these features, consider the pertinence of the message to your intended recipients. This also holds true when considering whether to use ‘Reply’ or Reply All’. Remove recipients for whom the information contained would not be considered useful.
Do not CC yourself on messages. Outlook automatically saves a copy of all outgoing emails in your ‘Sent Items’ folder, obviating the need to copy yourself on communication.
Use BCC sparingly. If the inclusion of an individual in a discussion requires discretion, consider taking the matter directly to the individual in person rather than in email.
Remember Email Is Not Private
Email should not be considered a private means of communication, even when it is appended with a variety of disclaimers stating otherwise. Individuals should avoid communicating sensitive information via email, and under no circumstances should passwords, social security numbers, or other personally identifiable information be transmitted via email.
As a public institution, Central Piedmont email can be considered public record and may be subject to the same applicable laws. Never send any email that you would not want published in the Charlotte Observer.
Periodically review the contents of your mailbox for relevance, deleting items which are no longer pertinent to college operations. This is especially true for the default Outlook folders (Inbox, Sent Items, Calendar, Contacts, Drafts, Tasks). These folders should maintain a maximum item count at less than a few thousand items, and users are encouraged to create additional folders for filing items from these folders, if necessary, to maintain a lower item count. This will improve the performance of the mail server and improve your email experience.
Faculty and staff can assist in reducing the flow of unsolicited emails processed by the college email servers in several ways:
- Unsolicited email should be deleted without being opened.
- Never forward chain messages. In addition to serving no productive purpose, chain emails expose college email addresses to spammers.
- Be cautious about posting your college email to external sites.
- Subscribe only to mailing lists that are necessary to perform your role at the college.
- Never reply to spam, not even to request removal from their mailing list.
Beware of Phishing Attempts
Phishing scams are attempts by unscrupulous individuals to steal sensitive information by masquerading as trustworthy sources. In addition to never sending personally identifiable information via email, users should be vigilant and inspect incoming emails to ensure that they are legitimate. If you suspect an email is actually an attempt to phish information from you, you should contact the ITS Helpdesk for assistance in verifying its validity.
Original work or assignments submitted by students may be subject to FERPA or copyright protection. Do not forward any educational records of students even to the student through email.