Given the ever increasing options & functionality in software used by people in their private time (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc), the work email environment can seem a little dull and regimented.
While a commercial on-premises email environment can’t easily keep up to date with rapidly evolving social trends, for data security and stability – it is still often preferable to a cloud-hosted email environment. There are a host of different arguments for either on-premises or cloud-based services, but that’s not the topic here.
What I want to ask is how much mail customisation should users be allowed in their work email environment? There are basic options in most mail packages – such things as letterheads, stationery etc. But what about other functionality?
For example, in our search tool, users can select animated gifs to display in certain situations – they can choose the company logo, cocktails, coffee, sports equipment etc. It’s completely pointless and simply intended to give the users some ‘fun’ options.
Another example is the email signature – Crossware’s Mail Signature product does a great job providing consistent email branding to the world, but is it also desirable to let users add their own personalised messages? Some people I receive email from have their own regular bylines, either inspirational such as ““We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”, or more provocative messages such as “Lotus Notes in the right hands is a powerhouse of productivity. In the wrong hands, it’s just Outlook”.
How much leeway should an internal email system afford it’s users? How much does yours? Would you see greater productivity from allowing more user options (and therefore more user interaction), or less?