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​Managing Your Inbox



You should not use Outlook as a storage device and you are required to manage your email account to keep content to a minimum. Increased storage can leave the account vulnerable to performance and technical issues. This can be achieved by prioritising, classifying and filing your emails regularly.



You are required to actively manage your email account to keep storage requirements to a minimum.

Useful tips which may help you manage your mailbox:

• Allocate a fixed period of time in your schedule to read through and sort messages – even if it’s only a short period of time; don’t leave it until your emails are unmanageable.
• Consider the sender, subject line and any flags to gauge the importance of a message.
• Prioritise which messages need to be dealt with first.
• Use Outlook functionality to set up a flag to indicate where you have been cc’d into email messages. Often these will be for information and will not require immediate, if any, action on your part.
• Use folders to group related messages together.
• Identify record emails and move them out of the email system promptly.
• Promptly delete low value, non-record messages which are no longer needed.
• Use Outlook functionality where appropriate to set up rules, such as automatically moving messages sent to particular addresses to folders or flagging messages received from particular addresses. However, ensure that you check these folders. If there is a possibility that you might not see something important because you have applied rules it would be best not to apply rules and let the email come into your inbox for checking. If you have signed up to an email alert service or distribution list service/forum and are not reading the emails routinely consider ’unsubscribing’ from the service or see if you can refine.


PST Files

The use of .pst files is strongly discouraged. Emails which are achived in this format can easily become corrupted or unreadable. It also creates issues in terms of access and increases the potential for a data breach, any emails which are records should be stored in a shared network area as per the guidance here link. By managing your inbox as per the guidance above you will avoid running out of storage space which will remove the need for archiving emails to .pst files. 


Out of Office

If you are going to be out of the office, you should always set an ‘out of office’ or automated reply message indicating when you will return and providing an alternative point of contact and if possible a generic/departmental email address which colleagues will be monitoring. This is essential if we are to conduct our business effectively, and ensure we deliver our statutory commitments.  

Remember that we are all bound by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the 20 working day timescale. If you receive an FOI request and are away from the office the statutory deadline for the University to respond will start from the day the email is received and the Information Commissioner will not take any individual’s absence from work into account if the deadline is not met and a complaint is subsequently received by the Commissioner.  To ensure that applicants can redirect their requests for information all University employees should include the following text in their ‘Out of Office’ automated replies:

"If your email contains a request for information that you feel may fall under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, please visit our FOI website . Alternatively, visit www.napier.ac.uk to check for the information you require. For routine enquiries see http://www.napier.ac.uk/about-us/contact-us and for feedback on the website click here."


Generic email addresses 

Where possible, generic email addresses, accessible to a group of people, should be used in preference to individual email addresses. A generic email address is one that reflects a business grouping, function or role e.g. health&safetyoffice@napier.ac.uk, or ugadmissions@napier.ac.uk. A generic email account must be assigned an active owner or supervisor who ensures that email messages are not left to accumulate in the account, but are managed appropriately and stored in SharePoint/S: Drive.

This allows a consistent contact point which will not change when staff change role or leave. It also helps minimise the risk of having to amend mailing lists, web references and printed materials thereby ensuring a degree of longevity. It also ensures a group of staff can access the generic mailbox to retrieve and action messages, reducing the risk of messages lying unattended in the individual mailboxes of absent staff

Organisational measures should be in place to ensure that generic mailboxes are regularly checked and appropriately managed. The same guidance as given above applies – emails must be filtered and saved in a shared network area (e.g. SharePoint or the S: Drive) or deleted as appropriate, and should NOT be left unmanaged with a build-up of email messages. Remember that Outlook is NOT designed to be a filing system or storage area for messages – keeping too much information in Outlook can cause technical errors or failures in the system and makes retrieval of information time consuming and inefficient.