Work Hacks Wednesday: Use Daily/Bi-Weekly Update Emails to Communicate during Boss/Client Absences

Absence of critical colleagues (vital team member, boss, client etc) can cause a few problems. Chief among these problems is miscommunication. Thanks to the “cc” feature on emails, they will likely be cc’d to more emails than they can handle on their week back.

So, how do we make it easy for them to catch up? Send them a structure daily update email with the progress made in the day. Depending on the importance of such communications, you can decide whether to run a daily, bi-weekly or weekly update. This solves a number of problems all at once –

Update on progress. At the most basic level, this serves as an update on progress made on current projects/priorities

Effort and process on show. Some projects require a lot of effort with no concrete outcome, at least immediately. This is a way to ensure everyone understands the effort taken, and the process of approaching the task. If there are any issues with the outcome, it’s easy to go back to the process and see what you could have done better.

Managing your client/boss. Update emails are a great way of keeping your client/boss updated. If your client is headed for a 2 week break, it helps to make a commitment that you will send him an email at 5pm every day with the critical updates. That way, even if  he does check his email, his will check it after 5pm and make sure he reads your email and actions any critical items.

Great communication is a vital part of avoiding “surprises”, especially when dealing with clients and bosses. And avoiding “surprises” comes from discipline and predictability. Predictability is an incredible asset. As for discipline – I’ve said this many times – the world belongs to the disciplined.