E-mails and best practice

I have just read Susy Taylor’s article Email best practice advice  on various way organisations can manage their e-mails. I don’t know if the Danish regulations are the same as the UK ones, but with membership of the EU it is reasonable to make the assumption that they are fairly similar.

To summarise: E-mails are documents in their own right and need to be retained just as long as one needs to keep word documents, memos, photographs or dairies – in other words, as long as they are of importance to the organisation.

This is the reason why bigger companies invest in electronic records management system (eRMS) so that staff can file e-mails directly into the relevant folders.

Companies who use MS Outlook can set up a system of folders on a shared drive in the same format as the mail system enabling attachments to be stored with the mail. Personal e-mails and those of immediate interest only should be deleted once they have been read and acted upon

Susy covers the difficulties of access – who should have access to what folders? There are always some that are confidential and those that contain ‘sensitive’ information. It is a difficult task to set up a storage system for mails! Retention of records must also be considered – how long should they be available for general access and when should they be backed up and stored elsewhere?

Susy points out that every organisation should provide some guidance for staff on how to use the organisation’s e-mail system and also setting out the organisation’s policy on monitoring e-mails – who has access to staff’s e-mails and when and how access is carried out.

So for Micros I recommend that proper storage systems of emails are set up – use folders and use some of cross indexing – a mail can easily fit into more than one category. Delete all the non-essential mails as soon as they have been read and acted upon. It makes life much simpler!


* Update 2007, 6 (5) 34-35