Copy me out, please

Brandy Munro
September 6, 2013

The CC – or email carbon copy, to use its formal title – is a fact of modern office life.

And because of it, most of us have to manage ROI (Ridiculously Overloaded Inbox, obviously) on a regular basis. Recent research has revealed that this disease is mutating and now displaying traits of resistance. So forget about a quick cure of your computer – the cause lies elsewhere.

Brandy Icon

Perhaps this problem is an inevitable by-product of our increasingly hectic lives. It’s often easier to fire off an email than pick up the phone and chat to someone. And fair enough, to an extent. Everyone’s busy and it’s quicker to type a brief note than give up the few precious minutes it may take to exchange pleasantries and partake in that crazily arcane act known as conversation. I won’t deny my own guilt in this area.

But convenience is one thing; redundancy is another. Take, for example, a conversation that I recently overheard. It went something like this:

Person 1: Did you see the printer’s email about the quantity and delivery deadline?

Person 2: Yep, saw it. I’ve just confirmed with the client a quantity of 5000, and it needs to be delivered by the end of the week.

Person 1: Ok, great. I’m replying to the printer now. Do you want me to CC you on the email?

Person 2: Nah, that’s fine.

Person 1: Too bad, I’m CCing you anyway.

Person 2: Please don’t.

In the end, the email was copied to Person 2 and the matter was closed. Granted, the dialogue and the final action were in jest, but it does beg the question: how much of an impact do unnecessarily copied emails have on our inboxes – and productivity?

Now, I’m not denying the usefulness of a good CC. In fact, I can cite many examples where it enhances the communication process. However, there are also occasions where I am privy to conversations for no apparent reason.

So, I’ve decided to take a stand. I’m now much more vigilant about justifying a CC – gone are the days of ‘doing it just in case’. And the same applies to situations when, as a recipient, I need to decide whether ‘reply all’ to the entire building is really necessary. It only involves expending another five seconds of brainpower, for which someone like me will be grateful. Now that’s real ROI.

Brandy Munro is a Writer at Wellmark

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