Will Taylor Ltd

Will’s business had a healthy client-base and more clients signing up every day. Primarily, this was due to a the team being full of forward thinking individuals (i.e. digitally minded) compared to most firms in this sector. However, an issue they were facing was email overload: some clients were getting slow responses, and some members of the team were spending too much time reading and writing emails. This time would have been better spent adding real value to their clients’ businesses.

To start with, we insisted that everyone kept a clean inbox and individual training was provided to ensure best use of Gmail as a program. The only messages that were to remain in an inbox were the ones that needed action and responses within 24 hours. This meant staff had to prioritise writing efficient emails to save time for themselves and their clients - writing with brevity had a huge value here. Clean inboxes also add resilience to a company as they enable colleagues to pick up someone else’s workload with ease during annual leave or illness.

To track whether the fifteen mailboxes (including the boss’s) were being kept tidy, a small, transparent system was devised where people self-reported at the beginning and end of each day using a Google Form. This fed directly into a Google Spreadsheet with columns for each member of the team, and rows for each working day. Conditional formatting using traffic lights immediately highlighted those who were struggling so that further help could be provided. This system ran for a few weeks until the issue of email overload was resolved.

Later, I automated collecting the team’s inbox data using Google Apps Script.

Screenshot of a form used to collect data on a user's mailbox for the purposes of keeping a clean inbox
Grid of email data with green, orange and red cells
Number of messages in inbox
Grid of email data with green, orange and red cells
Oldest message's age in days