What Is a Shared Email Inbox? Definition, Benefits & Best Practices

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Consider for a moment, what makes your team a success.

Each individual's skills, drive, and motivation make them valuable. They each bring something distinctive and useful to the table. However, true magic happens when they work together toward a common goal. Successful teamwork is an important factor in the workplace.

It's just as important for email management. But what is a shared email inbox, and why does your team need one? We cover the definition and benefits of shared email inboxes for the workplace and the best practices for managing them.

What Is a Shared Inbox?

Most businesses continue to rely on email for marketing, but they also use it for other business communications. At any time, your inbox will house communications from colleagues, collaborators, business partners, and external stakeholders.

It will welcome emails from customers, too. From here, you access and read those emails and respond to them. A shared email inbox meets all those same functions. It is used for receiving and responding to emails, most typically for business use.

However, there is a very important distinction. It can be accessed and used by multiple employees. The duties of managing that email inbox are shared.

5 Benefits of a Shared Inbox for Your Organization

Every business is unique. Your email management challenges will be unique, too. However, some challenges are universal. Fortunately, a shared inbox addresses many of these common issues. Here are just some of the benefits of a shared inbox for all types of businesses.

1. No More Endless Forwarding of Emails

What do you do when you're unsure how to respond to an email? Or if the sender has sent you a query best resolved by a colleague? You forward the email to the appropriate person, right? But with a shared inbox, there's no need for endless forwarding of emails to your colleagues, collaborators, or superiors.

With a shared inbox, it's easy to get the help you need, because all the best respondents are on the team. They can all access incoming emails and respond to them. This saves time, keeping the flow of email responses going without unnecessary delays.

2. A Convenient Single Point of Contact

A shared inbox is a convenient single point of contact for people to communicate with your company. Often, people don't know who to communicate with when they have a query about your business.

A shared email address resolves this issue. From there, the employee on the team best qualified to handle the issue will do so. This means that a shared email inbox can improve your company's credibility and reputation for service.

3. Better Workload Distribution

A shared inbox means better email workload distribution through email task delegation. Every member of the team is well utilized, optimizing their overall performance. It allows them to handle more tasks email-related collectively and also reduces the risk of burnout for individuals.

You'll easily see who can take on more responsibility and who is overloaded. But as a bonus, you'll also quickly identify who is pulling their weight, and who isn't. It's a simple step towards optimizing your staff's skill sets and maximizing their potential.

4. Higher Productivity

No matter what type of industry you are in or what the size of your team is, higher productivity is always the goal. Although you might not realize it, implementing a shared inbox for your team is a big step in that direction.

Whenever people work well together as a team, sharing responsibilities and improving collaborative skills, their productivity soars. And that's a big win for any business. Higher productivity almost always leads to business success and ultimately, higher profitability.

5. Communication Transparency

Exercising transparency is crucial for everyone in the business world. It helps to build a reputation for trustworthiness, reliability, and efficiency in the eyes of your partners, stakeholders, and clients. But the need for transparency is just as important between members of the organization itself.

The transparency provided by a shared inbox ensures that everyone on the team is held accountable for how they handle the business's email communications. It's the simplest way to foster a deeper sense of both individual and shared responsibility and accountability.

Helpmonks - Create a shared inbox for your business

Creating a Shared Inbox - Crucial Steps

Creating a shared inbox is quick and easy, and you'll soon see the benefits described above. But before you go ahead with your own shared inbox creation, take note of the following three points. They are crucial steps to follow if you want to start sharing email inboxes the right way.

1. Choose Wisely - Every Platform Has Its Own Method and Terminology

With such far-reaching benefits, you're probably keen to create your own shared email inbox. We highly recommend it, but be aware that there are different ways to do so, depending on your software. This is why choosing the right software and understanding the terminology is crucial.

For example, in Gmail, delegated accounts and shared inboxes are the same thing. You can use them to grant access to group members (delegates). In Microsoft 365, you can access shared mailboxes by selecting ‘Teams and Groups' after navigating to the admin center.

In Helpmonks' shared inbox, you can customize different sections of the inbox that are relevant to your team. This is in stark contrast to Gmail and Outlook shared inboxes. A Helpmonks shared inbox offers a wide range of features like convenient view windows, advanced contact management, and email task to-do lists.

2. Create an Appropriate Name for the Shared Inbox

The email address of your shared inbox represents your business. If you have several shared inboxes, each inbox will represent a particular department or division of the organization. Therefore, the name of your shared inbox should reflect this.

The more shared inboxes you have, the more important this becomes. The problem with multiple shared inboxes is when they have similar names. This similarity can result in emails arriving in the wrong inboxes.

Very similar names only cause confusion, which will impact productivity. This is the very opposite of what you are looking to achieve. Keep things clear and professional, with names that mirror the departments they serve.

3. Assign Shared Inbox Members With the Appropriate Authority

If your email platform allows shared inboxes, your next step after choosing this option will be to assign members. A common misconception is that a shared inbox is open to everyone in the organization. This would increase the risk of security breaches and other cyber issues.

So no, a shared inbox is not accessible by everyone in the company. It is shared only with specific members of a team, assigned when creating the shared inbox (or added later). When assigning shared inbox roles, select the employees whose work duties best mirror those shared inbox roles.

Assign members with the appropriate authority to view and respond to those emails. Most importantly, if a member leaves the department or the company, remove them from the members list. This keeps things safe and secure, maintains professionalism, and assures email confidentiality.

9 Best Practices for Managing a Shared Inbox

A shared email inbox offers many benefits in the workplace, and it's relatively easy to set up too. However, to make the most of your shared inboxes, you need the right strategies. This is how you make your inbox work for you, instead of the other way around.

Here are the nine best practices for managing a shared inbox with ease.

1. Define Roles and Responsibilities

A shared email inbox can be accessed and used by multiple users. But in a busy environment with copious incoming emails per day, this collaborative approach can quickly become chaotic. To maintain order in your inboxes, define each user's roles and responsibilities right at the start.

Multiple users can certainly reduce the workload before it becomes an email overload. But they can also increase the chaos without the proper hierarchy. Assign clearly defined roles and responsibilities to team members.

Top tip: Double up these assigned roles so that no email tasks fall by the wayside should a teammate take sick leave or go on vacation.

2. Use Tags and Categories

Organization and categorization are essential for managing a shared email inbox. The more ways you have to facilitate this, the better. Categorize emails as soon as you view them you establish order in your shared inbox. And tagging emails makes finding the right ones to respond to later, a breeze.

However, remember to stick to agreed-upon naming conventions for your custom categories. This makes it easier for everybody to find and respond to the right emails on time, every time. It will reduce all the time you previously wasted searching through endless lists of emails.

Top tip: Change naming conventions where possible after any email security breaches.

3. Set Up Rules and Filters

Make your shared email inbox even more user-friendly with some basic rules and filters. You can add rules and filters just as easily to a shared inbox as you would an individual one. This is an important step as it streamlines the whole email management process.

Based on the criteria you set, all the incoming emails will be automatically sorted, filed, disregarded, or prioritized. Spam and junk mail will be automatically detected and blocked, increasing your email security. And the more important emails will be given the prompt response and attention they deserve.

Top tip: Take the time to unsubscribe from unwanted email list messages and avoid the problem in the future.

4. Implement Templates and Canned Responses

A shared email inbox doesn't just allow multiple users to receive emails. Like any email inbox, it's where you identify who and what you need to respond to. And many of those responses will likely have a familiar theme.

Do you feel like you're writing the same emails over and over again? You probably are! You're just sending those emails to different recipients. So save that time and hassle by implementing canned responses, with handy templates your team can use.

Top tip: Templates are always useful. But don't forget that personalizing emails helps to increase customer engagement.

Helpmonks - Work with a shared email inbox

5. Regularly Audit and Clean Up

Cluttered business email inboxes quickly become a nightmare. They lower team morale and lead to growing feelings of overwhelm. That's why so many businesses are realizing the benefits of Inbox Zero as opposed to Inbox Infinity.

A shared email inbox can get just as cluttered as an individual one. That's why you must regularly audit and clean up your shared inboxes. You can assign this task to a specific team member, or devise a strategy where every member does some inbox clean-up per day.

Top tip: First thing in the morning is the best time for this. If left until later, it will likely be put off until the next day, creating more clutter.

6. Use Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools turn a shared email inbox into an efficient collaboration station. And if your email software integrates well with your other systems, workflows become even smoother. But collaboration tools can only benefit your team when they are used!

When collaboration tools are ignored or under-utilized, it's usually because employees don't know how to use them. Sometimes, they simply aren't aware of how these collaboration tools will reduce their workloads.

Top tip: Automated features in particular will help even the smallest teams ramp up their efficiency.

7. Measure Performance

Shared inboxes increase efficiency by allowing multiple users to view and respond to emails. But your shared email inbox helps improve your productivity in other ways too. For example, it gives you insight into your team's performance, and how well they work together.

Constant shared inbox monitoring will guide you in which measures you need to take to ensure better performance. Adjust your training methods accordingly, and your future employees will also benefit from these insights.

Top tip: It can also highlight those individuals who show promise for management positions that are opening in the organization.

8. Train Your Team

Regardless of how useful a shared email inbox is, you only reap the benefits when everyone understands how it operates. Ensure everyone using the shared inbox understands what their access permissions are, and how to use all the email management tools.

Schedule a training session, and explain the software's features, in-depth. Encourage your team to ask questions. The more confident they are about using the new software, the faster their response times will be.

Top tip: Let each team member practice using it before you fully implement it for daily use.

9. Use Shared Inbox Management Software

The ultimate clue to whether or not your shared email inbox will work for you is the software you use. Although many email software products offer various email management tools, they don't all allow for shared email inboxes. Even when they do, this is often an add-on at an additional cost.

Get software designed for business emails, with a shared inbox as part of the deal. You'll save yourself time, money, and hassle. Helpmonks, for example, offers a unified shared inbox with a smart rules engine, on every Helpmonks account. And you can add as many team members as you want.

Top tip: Using an all-in-one email management software solution like Helpmonks for email management, customer service, and marketing, saves you time and money.


A shared email inbox makes teamwork and collaboration easier. It streamlines email inbox management in all areas of your organization, particularly customer service. Shared email inboxes allow multiple user access, so more gets done, faster. But there's more to successful shared inboxes than multiple users.

For truly efficient email inbox management, you need the right software.

Helpmonks offers a comprehensive email management solution for all your business email needs from email marketing to customer engagement and customer service. To get the very best email management tools and a shared email inbox, create an account and enjoy a 30-day free trial.

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