Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives

What is a Status E-Mail?

A status e-mail is an electronic mail that contains the status or progress of someone or something, usually a team or a business project. It provides positive or negative information about the team or the project. In addition, a status e-mail reveals the ongoing activities of a team in a specific period of time.

Who uses Status E-Mails?

Members of business groups make status mails to provide information their teammates, updating them about their performance as part of the team. In addition, secretaries of the team create a status e-mail to update the team leader on what happened and what is currently happening in the team and the business project.

Why do people do Status E-Mails?

Status e-mails are made by business teams in some reasons.

Communication is the main aim of creating status e-mails. Status e-mails are highly beneficial to teams called virtual teams. Virtual teams have members who are dispersed in various locations and time zones across the world. Each member may work at a different pace due to the variation of local and time zone. Status e-mails allow these teams to inform and update team members on what is happening to the group and the project. With communication enhanced, the team will be able to function better and succeed.

Status e-mails are also written by team members so as to provide accurate and complete update to their team mates. The information in the status mails can be beneficial to the team members and leaders to assimilate information about the team and the project. Also, status e-mails help the team members make inferences and conclusions, allowing them to have adequate knowledge in making rational decisions.

How to do a Status E-Mail?

Status e-mails provide team members essential information on the standing and progress of the team and the project, which lets them to formulate more effective plans, more efficient strategies, and more dynamic actions in the future.

In creating status e-mails, the freshness of information is the key. The content of the report should be timely enough to update the members of the team. The report should be continuous, where it can talk about some evaluation of the team’s previous actions or pending actions from previous days or weeks. Resolution to previous issues can also be discussed so that they can be closed. Some status e-mails begin with the most recent information, followed by previous information.

Achievements and issues are also included in status e-mails. The problems can be actual or potential and the team should identify and list them as much as possible so that the team could prioritize them. By identifying these issues, the team will also be able to discuss applicable plans, strategies, and actions to solve existing issues and prevent foreseen issues.

Conciseness and simplicity are ingredients to make a good status e-mail. The status e-mail should not be too short nor too long. A very short status e-mail may lack pertinent data on the status and progress of the team and the project while a very long status e-mail can be boring and overwhelming to the reader.

The status e-mail should also have complete and accurate details. An incomplete report is prone to errors in the part of the team. That means tacky plans, strategies, and actions brought about by missing and inaccurate data from the e-mail. Teams do not want errors as having many errors will prevent them from meeting their goals.

Advantages of doing Status E-Mails

Writing status e-mails is beneficial to the business team in various ways.

Status e-mails help solidify the communication among team members, allowing them to update each and everyone in the team about the status and progress of the whole team and project. These e-mails will provide information to the team, such as recent changes in the workflow, urgent announcements, and the team’s achievements and problems.

The power of the internet is also utilized when making status e-mails. The e-mail is accessible to many business teams, including virtual teams, which consist of members from different parts of the world. While the members of the virtual team are dispersed to various locales and time zones, they will be able to send and receive updates to and from their team mates. This will also help large businesses to operate without having to meet in person and report every day in an office.

Disadvantages of doing Status E-Mails

While doing status e-mails has its advantages, it also has some cons.

Creating and sending status e-mails is only possible with a stable internet connection. Poor or absent internet access will disable the members of the team to send and receive information to and from their team mates. This issue will also render the team helpless if the information that needs to be passed on is an urgent one, which requires immediate intervention from the team. Failure of the stability of the internet connection is a big problem to the team.

With the advent of advanced technology, people have been able to develop tools which can penetrate or manipulate other people’s accounts. Hacking tools circle online in the form of malwares, spam messages, and spam advertisements, which can have a number of victims when clicked or access without caution. A hacked account will adversely affect the functionality of a team member, with the possibility of data corruption.

Best practices for doing Status E-Mails

The members of the team receive important updates or information about the team’s progress and standing from status e-mails, which enable them to create smart plans, develop efficient strategies, and implement dynamic actions.

The status e-mails should be complete as possible, containing information about the team’s accomplishments and strengths, weakness and issues, plans, strategies, actions, and evaluation of outcomes. These things should be summarized in bullet points so as to be more readable and more comprehensive to team leaders and other members of the team. For plans, they should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound.

To ensure that the contents of the status e-mail are understood by all members of the team, team members should use words that the team can assimilate. Acronyms are helpful to reduce the wordiness of the report, but some acronyms are not universal. This means that not all people can understand the meaning of a certain acronym. It would be better to use the long form of the acronym in the first reference and then acronyms can be used in the succeeding sections of the e-mail. In addition, jargons should be lessened in the status e-mail, as not all people can understand them. If the report really needs to have an unfamiliar terminology, it would be better to include a footnote that reveals the meaning of that word.

Team members should also be wary on the advertisements and messages in their e-mail accounts, for those could be links that can hack the e-mail account. A hacked e-mail account will send spam messages to its contact list, targeting to hack those accounts in the list as well. One good way to prevent the account from being hacked is not to share passwords with others and being careful when surfing the internet.

How to do Status E-Mails with Teamreporter

Teamreporter is a business application, which helps business teams to have reduced number of status meetings in a specific time frame. This is possible with the use of schedule report mails. Teamreporter is free to use for teams with up to four members and signing-up is easy as it takes only less than a minute.

The interface of Teamreporter is user-friendly and automated, allowing team members to generate status e-mails to be sent to other members of the team. Teamreporter will send team members notification e-mails, asking them to provide information on things like accomplishments, plans, and conflicts. Based on the replies of the team members, Teamreporter will generate a summary, which will be sent the next day.

Teamreporter can also help team leaders have a clear oversight of the status and progress of the team and the project. Also, the information in the application will enable the team leaders to make logical decisions that will help the team achieve its goals. Moreover, Teamreporter will also allow team leaders to distinguish the top performers from those who need their further assistance.

Alternatives to Status E-Mails

Status e-mails can be beneficial to the team; but then, there are some alternatives that the team can consider.

Conducting quick stand-up meetings is one alternative to status e-mails. A stand-up meeting is a kind of meeting that aims to bring team members together to talk about important information on the status and progress of the team and the project like achievements, conflicts, plans, strategies, actions, and evaluations. Stand-up meetings are designed to be short that they can be done prior to start of the work in the morning, just like morning operations meetings. While quick stand-ups can help a number of teams, they may not be the best option for virtual teams.

Creating paper-based reports is another option for teams who cannot handle status e-mails. Paper-based reports do not require internet connection for them to be sent to other members of the team. All that are needed are the file of the report and a printer. A paper-based report can also be easily filed inside a binder, whereas a status e-mail only stays in the computer, laptop, or smart device. Team members cannot access the status e-mail if there is absent or poor internet connection.

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