Are you old enough to remember the workplace before email? I am and I liked it much better back then. I have so many darned emails in my inbox at work that I sometimes get messages about my inbox being full. I have to make sure that I delete the deleted and sent folders at least once a week.
The emails that I should keep for my own records (and protection) I put into folders to get them out of the inbox.
Email is not totally a pain in the ass in the workplace. It is great when you need an answer to something right away. Usually, I get responses in just a few minutes, or at least some time that day. You can easily attach files or copy and paste which eliminates having to go to the copy machine. All you have to do is attach your file and if the person wants a printed copy they can make the trip to the copy machine on their own.
You have to be very careful using email in the workplace. First of all your work email is not your private email and that is very important to keep in mind. Your work email address is the property of the company you work for, so they have the right to access and read them all. Also keep in mind that deleted emails can always be retrieved. This includes emails that were deleted as long as five years ago. They are never completely gone.
I give my work email address to only a select few friends to prevent anyone from sending me jokes that can be looked at as offensive. Even though you cannot control what someone emails you, I have worked for companies that would either write you up or fire you if one of your friends or family members emailed you something inappropriate. There were quite a few occasions where I did not think the inappropriate email was funny to begin with and even offensive. Those emails would usually come from other co-workers in the workplace; not family or friends. It has been years though since I received any inappropriate emails so I guess that many companies have cracked down on employees passing around “joking” emails.
Another thing you have to be careful about is that many people in the worker place saves every single email they receive. An email that you send out today can haunt you months and even years later. This can include emails that were sent to you. I have had co-workers deny getting a specific email from me and I had to whip it out to prove that I did inform them. Some employees have read receipts attached to every email they send out. Therefore, not only do they have the proof of sending you an email, but they also have a receipt telling them the exact date and time you read it. If you were sent an email that required an action, don’t lie about getting it. Proving that you did is so easy.
How about employees who email you and loves copying your manager and what seems like everybody in your entire department? So often that is not necessary. If you need me to run a report for you just ask me. You don’t need to email my manager too or anyone else for that matter. We are grown people and I understand English. If you need me to run a report for a certain period I don’t need monitoring to do it.
Before email what people used to do is send interoffice memorandums. That was also a pain in the ass at times; however, there weren’t hundreds of them floating around as with emails. Often if a co-worker needed something the person came to you face to face or called you from their office to request it. It was mostly not a big deal.