During my working day there are many times were I need to share an email between several people to see, or delegate emails to the right person. Likewise, they may need to forward emails for me to handle.This usually involves forwarding emails, writing new emails to explain what it’s all about. Often, information is lost from the flow of replies and back and forth ping ponging of emails between different people, particularly if it’s a group email. The context is lost because it can be locked in someone else’s email box, or you are only CC’d into the conversation half way through. Another situation that occurs when this arises is when someone goes on vacation and the emails they receive need to be actioned upon, but the email gets lost in their inbox. Auto-forwarding all emails to someone else inundates them with email, many of which may not be relevant to them.. and what happens if that person is off sick? The emails become unanswered or you end up with a long chain of auto-forwarded emails…email nightmare.
So I tried out Grexit, an email collaboration tool, on my Gmail account to try to solve this problem. It’s a tool that lets you share email via custom tags, and has a stored central repository for all those emails that are shared between people. This means if a tag is applied to an email, anyone who has access to that tag, can see the email. Useful for splitting up work to individuals and between topics, with a good overview of who’s handing what and how it’s progressing.
How to use Grexit
After creating an account, and integrating it into my Gmail, it’s pretty easy to get going. At the end of each email I receive I see this box
Clicking on the Send to Grexit button reveals these options –
This allows me to select a tag, or create a new tag. After I submit it to Grexit, it’s saved in a repository. The repository can be configured for access on the Grexit website, this means that anyone you give access to can view these emails. You can control who sees which tags. The tags sit on the left handside of your gmail.
Doesn’t clog up your inbox.
One useful thing about the tags, is when emails are shared to it, they don’t all appear in your inbox. This would make it a nightmare if this were the case, in fact they sit under the tag with the number of unviewed messages displayed. It’s already segregated out, which means there is no need to manage your inbox. It’s possible to create multiple tags which means you can have different ‘inboxes’ for different shared email groups.
Filters are your friend
Setting up rules in Gmail can automatically place emails into the shared emailed boxes which means you don’t have to forward them. An example of how this works is in a sales organisation. People may send emails to general firstname.lastname@example.org. If you create a rule that tags this email with the shared tag of ‘sales leads’, then everyone in the sales team can see this email. If you set up more tags for each sales person, when someone picks up that email, they can change the tags to their own name. Easy to see who is handling which sales inquiry, and which sales leads have not been taken up and needs handling.
If the sales enquiry needs to be handed over, the whole email conversation is still stored. Simply change the tag to the new responsible person. They will see the whole email history. Delegation and shared responsibility of email actions are much simpler using Grexit. It can be used in this way for project management by assigning tasks via email and splitting the work load via tags, likewise for customer support or just freeflow of information.
Discipline & Filters
To use it effectively, it’s important you create a process of how you intend this to work with email collaborators. For this reason, I recommend using it with filters, because it helps to shift and automate the process of tagging. For workflow control it’s important to handle tags so that they get assigned appropriately.
Grexit is a tool that can aid your collaboration and email productivity by taking away the hassle of forwarding, cc’ing emails, and keeps group emails organized. It helps with email workflow and making sure that the right people take action on the emails that are relevant to them,a little bit of discipline is needed to get the best out of the tool and it will save you from losing important emails that would otherwise be lost in the cc and forwarded email circus.
Featured photo credit: Smiling woman sending messages with her mobile phone via Shutterstock