Corporate Email Policies

Written by Gregg Ruais
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Because so much productivity is lost from the misuse of company email, all business leaders should take preventative action in the form of a corporate email policy. Creating a policy is simple. Common sense tells us that people shouldn't abuse their company email accounts by sending obscene jokes and pictures to their coworkers. The difficulty, however, lies in the enforcement of that policy.

Should managers be assigned the task of skimming through their employees' sent items folders? If that's the only way to discover offenders, then the cost of finding email abusers outweighs the problem itself. Having a policy in writing accomplishes very little if employees know they will never get caught, which is the case at the vast majority of companies. These businesses simply count their losses on the issue of lost email productivity.

Making Corporate Email Policies Matter

A corporate email policy does not have to be an inert document. The best email management software makes all messages completely traceable and searchable. Authorized software users can perform subject-line and text searches for inappropriate content. Companies that use this type of software can maximize the benefits by communicating their email policies and explaining how they will be enforced.

When people know their messages can and will be monitored, they are much less likely to break the rules. Moreover, it's really only fair to let people know if reports on email usage will be sent to their bosses. When emails are traceable, people think twice about breaking the rules. Those who do violate policy can be discovered and warned, if not outright terminated for the worst offenses. The issuance of a few warnings will discourage nearly everyone from abusing company email.

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