It doesn’t solve all the problems of email, but as a first step, but why not simply have email checking hours instead of office hours? Almost all the shittiness of email for me isn’t about the medium but the “always on” expectation. In my current job (ABD Phd student), I can restrict email checking to 2 or 3 times a day, and I’m pretty happy with that.
Hell, if people just had the expectation that emails will take at least 24 hours to answer, I think we’d be way better off. People don’t prepare their initial inquiries well because sending an email is so cheap. If they weren’t expecting a back-and-forth to get at the real issue for the next day, then they might do a better job figuring out their actual question in the first place.
I like this!
Bonus points if the org used software to encourage this, e.g. making the inbox not visible without a second “yes, I’m sure” click unless it was during the email checking hours.
This would actually be very easy at any sympathetic organisation. Just set an autoreply to say ‘I check my emails at 9 am every day,’ or ‘I check my emails on Tuesday afternoons.’
Autoreplies get out of hand really quick. When the autoreply bug goes through a work environment, pretty soon autoreplies are 60% of your inbox. Out of courtesy for others, I only use them for vacations.
I used to have my urgent email address in my signature so truly urgent emails could get my attention (push notification to phone). My advisor found the instructions and the implication that all emails are not important to be condescending, so I removed it. But I might reinstate it if my next position increases my email burden.
Yes, you’re right—including it in your signature is better.