Almost any email software or services can be used in a TRO system. However, some have definite advantages. Here is what to look for in a good solution.
- Access anywhere. You need to see your email at the office and on the road, whether you have Internet access or not. Options include:
- Any email solution and a mobile phone with a good, built-in email app.
- Web-based email and a mobile phone web browser.
- Web-based email and a notebook computer with reliable broadband or Wi-Fi Internet access, so you can access the web from almost anywhere.
- Email software on your notebook computer that lets you compose and manage emails even when you don’t have an Internet connection.
- Web-based email that runs in your browser even when you don’t have Internet access. (Gmail does this using Google Gears.)
- Mobile phone access. This is almost a repeat of “access anywhere,” above, but it’s worth emphasizing separately since smartphones are almost a productivity necessity—the all-in-one communication solution. Email is an important part of that, so it’s important to use an email solution that works on your phone or vice versa.
- Junk mail filtering. You need to be able to easily filter out junk mail. For most web-based email, this is automatic. (Good options: Gmail, Outlook with Spamfighter third-party social spam filter, and many others.)
- Archival. An ideal email solution will store your old email and let you find your old emails instantly without making you do a lot of work to file it away. (Good options: Gmail, Outlook with hosted Exchange Server or Office365.)
- Email linkage to tasks. (Optional) It’s ideal if your email program lets you connect emails to the tasks they pertain to. Inside the task, you should see the connected email(s), easily open them, and reply to them. (Entourage does this on a Mac.)