Our inboxes would be easier to manage if more people followed this rule when sending professional emails.
Email can cause a great deal of workplace stress, especially since we can feel tethered to it 24/7. Ever found yourself peeking at work email over the holidays, just because it's there? Thanks, smartphones!
Here's the tricky thing with email. Staying on top of your inbox tends to create more email. The more you send, the more you receive. By some counts, the average worker spends more than two hours reading and replying to emails.
One tactic to help rein it in is to be part of the solution, not the problem. Become a better emailer. You can do this by making it more clear who needs to reply and who doesn't.
Use email as it was designed to be used.
Here's a pro tip that will help you move toward mastering your inbox and cut down on the deluge. It's from tech and digital culture journalist Victoria Turk. In a recent New York Times newsletter, Smarter Living editor Tim Herrera interviewed Turk, who is also the author of Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette, From Social Media to Work to Love.
Turk talked about the CC rule. She says it's one tip she wished more people knew and used.
It's simple. If you expect a reply from a recipient, include them in the "to" field. If you want to include certain individuals for visibility but don't need their input or reply, add them to CC. Consider CC'ing someone more of an FYI.
Expectation setting streamlines communication.
"What I love about it is it makes clear what your responsibilities as a recipient are -- whether you're expected to reply or not," Turk said.
She believes that a lot of the stress about email comes down to expectations. As the emailer, you're not always sure who needs to be included. As the recipient, you're not always sure if you need to reply. Using the CC field for the "no reply needed" folks helps to set those expectations.
Don't abuse the CC field.
Does this mean you have free rein to clog up more people's inboxes by CC'ing them? Of course not. Turk urges you to avoid the passive-aggressive CC -- say, including someone's boss just to call them out.
If you're having a problem with one of your colleagues, there's an old-school communication tactic that never goes out of style: Go talk to them and try to work it out one-on-one.
Go to orginal article on Inc.com