I am, admittedly, an email hoarder. So I was glad to recently attend an email mailbox reduction workshop at work. From the workshop and subsequent conversations with our IT department, here’s what I learned.
Benefits of Effective Mailbox Management
Reduce clutter. Much like regular mail, we all get a lot of different types of email. Some messages are important while others are merely informational. And some of it is junk. Regularly going through the mail and getting rid of the stuff you don’t need helps you to be more organized and allows you to retrieve the really important messages when you need them.
Reduce cost. Many organizations receive thousands of emails a day. All of those messages take up a lot of expensive storage over time. Additionally, some organizations’ business continuity and disaster recovery plans require all of those emails to be backed up to other storage every day. This adds even more cost. Reducing the amount of emails allows organizations to more effectively manage costs.
Ensure email availability. The more email that has to be stored long term, the greater the risk that something could go wrong that would stop email from working. Reducing email makes the entire system run more efficiently so that email is always available.
Help business continuity and disaster recovery. Many organizations spend a lot of money ensuring that critical systems, like email, are up the overwhelming majority of the time and can be restored in the event that something bad happens. And the amount of data, like email, that has to be recovered largely defines how quickly email can be recovered in a disaster. The better employees manage their mailboxes, the easier it is to recover from a serious problem.
Tips for mailbox reduction
Assess your mailbox size. Do this by clicking on File, then Cleanup Tools, then Mailbox Cleanup, and finally View Mailbox Size. Ask your email administrator if there is a limit or mailbox size under which you need to stay.
Empty your deleted folder. If you don’t regularly empty this folder, clearing it out will have a big impact.
Check your calendar. If you have a lot of calendar entries with attachments or large files, you may want to consider cleaning them out. Change your calendar to “list” view to see the size of your entries.
Archive emails, if possible. Check with your email administrator to see if an archive folder can be created. If so, try to archive anything older than six months. Archived items are still accessible and searchable, but they do not count toward your mailbox size.