Electronic Message Management Best Practices

Updated February 2016

  1. Always be thoughtful about the content and tone of your messages.
  2. Send only necessary messages to reduce volume.
  3. Minimize use of UC messaging systems for non UC business.
  4. Remember that privacy is not guaranteed.
  5. Keep only those messages necessary for your work, or those considered records in the UC Records Retention Schedule.
    • (“Non-records” should be deleted routinely. Non-records are temporarily useful but have no lasting administrative or operational value.)
  6. Move messages you need to keep to the Outlook Online Archive. (Messages stored on your local hard drive are not backed up.)
  7. Use meaningful email subject lines to facilitate search.
  8. Empty the email Sent, Deleted, and Junk folders frequently.
  9. Keep the sync between voicemail and audio email copies so you can manage them simultaneously, unless the message is a business record that needs to be retained.
  10. Use IM for transitory communications only, rather than business transactions for which you need a record.
    • (IM messages at UCOP are not saved, so IM is not appropriate for conducting business subject to records retention obligations, e.g., approvals).

Keep in mind:

  • California Public Records Act (CPRA) and Other Disclosure Requirements. Messages should be appropriate for a business setting: All messages are potentially subject to disclosure to the public under the CPRA; to any individuals about whom the messages pertain under FERPA or the IPA; and to parties to a lawsuit pursuant to discovery. Messages also can be accidentally or intentionally forwarded to individuals without a “need to know.”
  • Electronic Communications Policy. All messages are subject to the UC Electronic Communications Policy and, in situations allowed by policy, may be accessed without the holder’s consent.
  • Litigation and Other Records Holds. Records holds may be placed on messages when the University (a) anticipates or is involved in litigation, (b) a government investigation has begun, (c) an audit has begun or (d) a California Public Records Act request has been received. Messages subject to records holds must NOT be deleted until you have been officially notified that the hold has been lifted.