CC culture: On average, email takes up one-third of our working time. This is a source of annoyance and frustration for many people. Certainly, if the emails make your inbox bulge via a ‘CC’. In certain organizations, these CC messages are a real scourge with an underlying purpose. What is expected of you when your name pops up in the CC line and how do you get rid of these time-wasters? And why do so many people experience CC emails as stressful messages?

CC culture is not the only problem that occurs in many companies.

Read about more problems within companies

Email terror through ignorance

When you send someone an e-mail, enter their e-mail address in the To field. If you want others to be notified of the message, you must state them in the CC field. That is handy because you can inform several people in one go. The recipients in the BCC field also receive the message. But here there is a big difference because the CC recipients do not see the BCC recipient.

E-mails are sent via the CC (carbon copy), both on and off. To keep you informed, to ask you something or simply because people think you might find the information interesting. Sometimes the sender also wants to cover for something or indirectly confront you with something. In fact, many CC behaviours are a sign of fear.

Also read: Increasing the personal effectiveness of employees

Why CC email

How can the CC fear be corrected?

According to the e-mail etiquette, no response is expected from you if you appear in the CC line. In fact: it is even ‘not done’. You get the message to take note of the content, no more and no less. If you yourself send an email to a colleague about a disagreement and you mention your boss in the CC hoping to receive a response from him/her, then that is not appropriate. On the other hand, it sometimes happens that a customer addresses you about an error and mentions your supervisor in the CC. People you expect a response from should be in the To line.

The CC rule: shooting with hail

The CC rule is sometimes compared to shooting with hail. Certainly in the case where the sender does not know who he should actually address. He spreads the message as widely as possible in the hope that someone will respond to it. Even when the message is urgent or action is actually requested.

If the rules within your organization on the use of the CC rule are clear, you can save and read the mail at a better time. After all, no response is expected from you. However, if the rule is not clear, CC emails require just as much attention as emails sent directly to you. After all, you can never know if anything is expected of you.

Why a CC e-mail causes frustration and stress

Research shows that about a third of employees suffer from stress due to the daily amount of e-mails. Answering all those emails costs us an average of 1 to 2 hours a day. The e-mail flow is even higher among managers. They also receive above average CC e-mails.
Despite the stress, the e-mail box is open daily for 90% of employees. Even outside office hours, e-mails are read regularly, and preferably via the smartphone.

If you are (unintentionally) part of the CC culture, then part of this stream of messages will miss its target. It costs you time and energy and provides extra work pressure, while it hardly provides you with anything.

Read also: Learning objectives for employees to reduce absenteeism

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Why multitasking is a utopia

The demands placed on employees are higher than ever. We must perform a certain number of tasks that must meet high-quality requirements.
If we think that all tasks are just as important, we will pay as much attention to our CC messages as to our other activities. To reduce the time pressure, we are going to multitask. We are going to carry out both the information processing processes and the thinking processes simultaneously.

However, nobody can multitask. It is even impossible to focus on two things at the same time. If you try, you will make mistakes because you are not fully focused on a task. You get distracted faster and you start making mistakes. The so-called multitasking only puts you in more stress.

Say stop to the CC envelope!

You can imagine that a message with five CC recipients takes up a lot of time and energy. Not only with you, but also with those other four colleagues. And at a time when you are supposed to work efficiently.
Are you trapped in a CC culture? Then present your frustration to your supervisor. Try to get clarity about the rules for handling CC messages. It will reduce the workload for you and your colleagues, reduce your stress and sharpen your focus!

Conquer burnout and stress

Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.

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