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Management article
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Reference no. U9607B
Authors: M Hattersley
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Management Update", 1996

Abstract

This case study analyzes how to stop e-mail and voice mail from taking over your business and personal life. What do you do when you arrive at work to find close to a hundred messages that demand immediate action or response? The solutions to reduce overload include instituting proper standards company-wide concerning the length and urgency of both types of mail. Assistants can be trained to triage the messages. And, one should be selective in responding to both kinds of messages, since responses provoke messages. Another possible solution would be to arrange for a second e-mail address and voice mailbox with restricted access, using the other one for general correspondence.

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Abstract

This case study analyzes how to stop e-mail and voice mail from taking over your business and personal life. What do you do when you arrive at work to find close to a hundred messages that demand immediate action or response? The solutions to reduce overload include instituting proper standards company-wide concerning the length and urgency of both types of mail. Assistants can be trained to triage the messages. And, one should be selective in responding to both kinds of messages, since responses provoke messages. Another possible solution would be to arrange for a second e-mail address and voice mailbox with restricted access, using the other one for general correspondence.

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