Tag Archives: Reply All

Taking it one step further…

A while back, I praised the Nielsen Company for disabling the “Reply All” functionality in Outlook. Now the company may take an even bigger step in controlling sharing. In an email sent to the BASES division from a VP of the company today, it appears they are allowing employees to vote on several forward-thinking cost-cutting measures. Here is one idea:

Remove the “Send” button from Outlook. How many times have you come back from vacation and had 1,452 emails waiting for you, including 323 reminders that your inbox is over its size limit? Well, help is just around the corner if you vote for this proposal.  We have noticed that the “Send” functionality in Outlook results in a great deal of in-box clutter. By removing it, we will dramatically free up associates’ time and untold server space. In-person communication is often more effective than e-mail anyhow, since it gives you a chance to “read” your co-workers’ faces and look for certain “tells” or even facial tics. For long-distance communication, phone calls will continue to be a viable option, as are smoke signals (where permissible by local law).

Other options suggest that the next operating system could be based on the “sturdy and time-tested Excel platform” and that April Fool’s Day emails could be sub-contracted in future fiscal years.


1 Comment

Filed under Email, Just HAD to Share (Random)

Too much of a good thing

Oh the “Reply All” function. We all know how it feels to be bombarded with emails from perfectly kind strangers, be they friends of friends of our dad’s, overzealous rec league volleyball teammates, college buddies, or, possibly worst of all, work cohorts.

Everyone hates it, yet it still happens. Why ?  As with many perplexing questions, I believe it depends on the person. Here are a few culprits:

  • Lazy folks: “I don’t want to bother so I’ll do this to be safe…”
  • Careless individuals: “It’s an email. If they don’t like it they can delete.”
  • Clueless ones: “Great forward Fran..!!!  I liked your shirt yesterday…etc.”
  • Self-important peeps: “My time’s to valuable to have to say this twice.”
  • It’s too late people:  “17 emails already…what’s one more?”
  • Enough!! people: “A small request: Please let’s not hit reply all any more.”

These are cases of people blurting messages without taking a brief moment to think about audience. They represent a step backward to days of one-way, mass messages. These instances are not sharing, but yelling, even if they aren’t typed IN ALL CAPS.

Together we can stop the madness. One company has taken a step in doing so.

Nielsen Logo


In December, the Nielsen Executive Council (NEC) held an Act Now! event to review suggestions from across the business that would eliminate bureaucracy and inefficiency. Beginning Thursday, January 29, we will implement one of the approved recommendations: removing the “Reply to All” functionality from Microsoft Outlook.

We have noticed that the “Reply to All” functionality results in unnecessary inbox clutter. Beginning Thursday we will eliminate this function, allowing you to reply only to the sender. Responders who want to copy all can do so by selecting the names or using a distribution list.

Eliminating the “Reply to All” function will:

  • Require us to copy only those who need to be involved in an e-mail conversation
  • Reduce non-essential messages in mailboxes, freeing up our time as well as server space

This is one of the many changes being implemented as a result of the NEC Act Now! initiative. If you have any suggestions on how we can continue to improve the way we work, please send your comments to Nielsen Communications.

Andrew Cawood
Chief Information Officer

In my opinion, brilliant!  Nielsen has not only listened to employees who are willing to join in open dialogue (regarding a company about which these individuals know better than anyone), but it has framed its decision perfectly.

Some disagree with the severity of this outcome; others have done the math to prove its value.

I’ll end this post by saying my friend at Nielsen is happy with the policy. And, he tells me something the lazy and clueless folks don’t know and don’t deserve to: “Reply All” still works at Nielsen. It just requires two thoughtful clicks via the menu bar. Seems only fair to sharers who care.


Filed under Case Studies, Email