UCL Human Resources


School of Pharmacy

Areas for improvement: Only 30% of staff responded positively to being able to meet the requirements of their job without having to work excessive hours.

We were doing: Staff at UCL School of Pharmacy were finding it hard to manage emails. Research from our local focus group sessions found that it was not uncommon for staff to be reading and responding to emails during the evenings, weekends and even whilst off sick or annual leave. 

We did: The Director of the UCL School of Pharmacy, with the help of the Athena Swan and Senior Management team, introduced an email etiquette for staff encouraging them to be mindful of what they were sending and when. A half day interactive training session was also held where staff were able to learn new email management techniques so that by the end of the session they were able to achieve an empty inbox. 

Where are we now?: Fifteen members of staff have already attended the session and used the techniques to reduce the amount of emails in their inbox to zero. They have also been successful in using the tools and techniques to keep their in-boxes that way. One senior academic member of staff who started the session with 80,000 emails was very sceptical about leaving the three hour session with a clear inbox. However, by the end of the session an empty inbox was successfully achieved using the techniques learnt which is said to have had a positive effect on the senior manager’s life.

Following the email etiquette message from the Director, there is now clear communication about what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to sending and receiving emails. School of Pharmacy staff are more mindful of their email communications and it is likely that the two interventions will help towards achieving a change in attitude towards the email culture.

What we plan to do next: The Director will periodically send an email to all staff to remind them of the divisions email etiquette. Further “Inbox to Zero” sessions will also be held within the division so that as many members of staff as possible will have had the opportunity to achieve a zero inbox.