University business is often conducted through email and as a consequence many email messages are University records.
What are University records?
Generally speaking, a University record is recorded information created or received by University employees undertaking University business and maintained as evidence of that activity. In the case of email, communications that document actions or decisions related to University business are University records.
To assist in identifying emails as University records ask whether the following apply:
Tip: When retaining a series of replies or forwards, keep only the last message as long as the thread is complete and hasn’t been changed in the course of the exchange. Also, retain information in the header regarding the sender, recipients, date and time; this helps preserve the context of the message.
The email system is not a recordkeeping system. Remember that if you leave KAUST your email account will be discontinued and access to such records will be lost.
It is best to dispose of emails as soon as possible, while the subject and content are fresh in mind. I recommend applying a modified form of the Eisenhower Matrix:
Once you open an email message, decide what you are going to do with it before you close it:
After reading a message, determine if a response or specific action will take two minutes or less. If so, do it. (File, respond, make a call, etc.).
After reading a message, determine if a response or specific action will take more than two minutes of dedicated time. If so, defer it until you have the necessary time to undertake it.
If you are working in Outlook take advantage of the ability to flag messages that you chose to defer. Using the proper tools to flag or label email messages can help you find them later so that you can determine whether action is still required. You can also add email messages to your “To Do” list by dragging the message to your "Tasks" list.
After reading a message, determine whether you are the right person to respond to the email. If not, delegate it to someone who is better placed to respond to it.
The majority of emails sent and received have only transitory value. They have no administrative, legal, fiscal, or archival retention requirements and can likely be deleted as soon as they have fulfilled their reference purpose. Examples of such email messages include:
If you are a manager you might wish to:
When an employee separates from employment: