Help Desk 101: Dealing with Email Overload



Do you feel like you spend more time sifting through emails than getting actual work done? Do you get your work emails pushed to your phone and feel it vibrating all day? It seems that recently many people have hit their tipping point and are calling for the death of email. In corporate situations, many prefer the use of social tools like Yammer where short messages can be consumed and discussed more organically. In the consumer world, people are using social networks such as Facebook or Twitter which they already check on a regular basis and push notifications are easy to setup and seem to be the preference for many. The main knock against email is that it is used too often for information that can be found elsewhere or discussed in a lot less time than it takes to compose and consume an email.



At the service desk you cannot always choose the way notifications are delivered, this may fall into the hands of whoever setup the workflow of your system. There may be no way to stop the emails of ticket notifications and approvals because your IT Director still thinks this is the most efficient way. I don’t want to even get started with how this system is for the customer, because it really is a whole article in itself. So at this point change is not an option for you, how can you handle this for yourself?

I suggest setting up a rule so that all tickets route into a specific folder. Ignore the notifications and phone vibrations and work straight from your IT dashboard or ticket view. Of course, if you are mobile, your ITSM solution will need a Smartphone client, otherwise email may be the only option. As for a more collaborative approach, consider the use of an enterprise social tool where your team can posts about what they are working on and people can reply, just don’t activate email notifications for the tool.

While I'm a proponent for reducing email use, it’s not time to kill email - it’s time to evaluate how you are using it and make sure that there is actual substance being exchanged. Consider your fellow workmates and their email habits to get an idea of how to make the best changes.