August 13, 2019

64: Establishing Team Email Practices

For many teams, email is the primary form of staying connected, making it critically important but also a major point of stress.

Logistically, the most obvious way to make email more manageable is to just have fewer emails coming in. But in reality, this might actually be the hardest thing to make happen because we’re not totally in control of how many emails we receive every day.

But, there are a number of things you can do with regards to how email is used amongst your team members and therefore strongly influence how many emails you get and send every day. In this episode, I discuss four principles and related tactics for more effective team email along with how to introduce them to your team.

This is part two of a two part series on email management. This episode tackles team email practices. Part one, episode 60, covered individual email management practices.

The full episode guide includes sample agendas and activities to help your team redesign its email practices. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at

Get the free mini-guide at

Subscribe to my newsletter to get episodes, articles and free mini-guides delivered to your inbox.

Read the related blog article: How to Establish Effective Team Email Practices

Key Takeaways:

  • Aligning your team’s email practices is one way to reduce the quantity of emails you receive while enhancing the flow of communication.
  • Email is just one tool in your team’s communication toolbox. Clarify how to use email vs chat, meetings, your team collaboration software (e.g. Asana, Basecamp), a document, text message, etc.
  • Email is generally well suited for a limited number of activities such as one-way information sharing, communicating with external stakeholders, multiple choice questions, gauging whether a meeting is needed.
  • Crafting thoughtful emails may take a few extra minutes but will reduce the back-and-forth, saving time and energy in the long run.
  • Consider how your team uses email subject lines. Standardizing subject lines to include a bracketed term followed by a headline makes it easier for the recipient e.g. [ACTION] Your input needed on Monday’s client meeting agenda
  • If assigning tasks or making a request, be as precise as possible for the 3 Ws: who is responsible, what do they need to do, when does it need to be done by.
  • Explore how your team might structure email content or use formatting consistently to draw attention to important information.
  • Establish explicit norms for email such as how and when to use niceties such as the “thank you” response, what a reasonable response time is for regular and urgent emails, whether email should be read/responded to outside of work hours, etc.
  • There are not right or wrong ways to design team email practices. Engage your team in this process to decide what make the most sense for your team’s situation.

Additional Resources:

Want More Great Episodes?

Check Out These Fan Favorites