UCL PALS wants to help reverse the problems caused by email overload. We would love everyone in our community to be part of the solution and adopt the following Email Charter.
1. Respect recipients' time
Make your email easy to read: use these plain English tips to save others time and make your communication more effective.
2. Short is not rude
It's ok to be brief. Don't take brevity personally and know that others won't. Wordy responses take longer to read. People will scan it and are less likely to read it all; key details can be easily missed.
3. Celebrate clarity
Subject line: write a short subject line that clearly gives the topic.
Opening line: make it the basic reason for writing.
4. Slash CCs
Only CC someone who really needs this message. Don't thoughtlessly 'Reply all': choose individual recipients.
5. Tighten the thread
If you need to include the email trail showing the context, cut what's not relevant. If it's long, summarise or make a phone call instead.
6. Reduce attachments
Don't use images like logos in your signature - they'll be attached and I'll try to open it in case it's something relevant.
7. Should we expect an instant response?
Don't feel you need to give an instant response, and don't expect to get one. Skype or the telephone are your tools if something is urgent.
8. Disconnect sometimes
Can you calendar half-days for email-free working? And you should be having email-free evenings, weekends, holidays. Have an 'auto-response' that makes it clear you're not checking.
9. Reference this charter
Spread the word and help change email culture. Reference this charter in your email footer.
10. Cut Contentless Responses
You don’t need to reply to every email, especially not those that are themselves responses. An email saying “Thanks for your note. I’m in.” does not need you to reply “Great.” That just cost someone another 30 seconds. It also has an environmental impact - eg. If every Brit sent one less thank you email a day, we would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year - the same as 81,152 flights to Madrid.