Some click holes can be fun to fall into, such as puppy videos, Pinterest fails and the trashiest of celebrity gossip. But then there are the email vortexes that can kill hours of your work day.
To help you avoid getting sucked into the dark side of a phone or monitor, Restaurant Business reached out to foodservice operators who’ve mastered the art of electronic mail. Check out some of their best tips for more efficient correspondences.
1. Deploy strategic subjects
Communication is key, and managers are busy, too, says Heather Torrey, director of food services for Georgetown Public Schools in Georgetown, Md. Torrey labels her subject lines to managers with the header ACTION, INFORMATION or RESPONSE followed by a brief description of the email contents. “That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later,” she says.
2. Strike at the right time
Beth Emery, dining services director at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., spends around two and a half hours responding to emails each day. One thing that helps keep Emery on track is checking email mainly at the beginning and end of the day. “[It] works because these are typically the times of the day that I get the least interruptions,” she says.
3. Set timeframes and reminders
Paula Amols, director of Dining Services and Racer Hospitality at Murray State University in Murray, Ky., says she’s a stickler for reading and responding to email right away. “I believe it’s discourteous to not respond in a timely manner,” Amols says. However, when out of the office, she marks messages for follow-up to ensure she responds when she’s back in the office.
Also prioritizing speediness, David Gingher, director of retail campus dining at Penn State University in University Park, Pa., sets deadlines for return emails. “I play catch up in the evening at home and always try to respond within 24 hours,” he says.
4. CC with care
To respect colleagues’ time and streamline communication, Gingher is selective about who is on his email chains. Leading by example, he checks to ensure no one is on the email that doesn’t need to be. “I’m very careful about that,” he says.