Access a colleague’s mailbox or digital files

Do you need access to digital files or emails held by a colleague? If so you need to get the colleague’s line manager to contact explaining why access is needed. We don’t always grant access, so use the following tips to make sure you’re prepared and don’t need to ask!

Planned absence

Don’t leave colleagues in the lurch. If you are jetting off on holiday, have planned healthcare, parental or other leave make sure make sure you do all you can to ensure business can run smoothly without you.

You could:

  • Have planned handovers to team members
  • Let your regular contacts know who to email while you are away
  • Set up rules to forward some or all email elsewhere
  • Use your out of office to direct people to someone who can help
  • Get a role mailbox set up
  • Store digital files that the whole team need to use in a place where they can access them, for example a shared drive or SharePoint site

Remember – NEVER share your passwords with colleagues, not even your manager.

Unplanned absence

Sometimes we need to be away from work without warning. You can’t plan for this, but there are still ways of making sure life runs smoothly while you are away.

You could:

  • Get a role mailbox set up
  • If you are able to access your mailbox, set up forwarding rules and an out of office message
  • Store digital files that the whole team need to use in a place where they can access them, for example, a shared drive or SharePoint site

If you haven’t done these things, then your manager might contact you to ask your permission to access your mail or files.

Where there is a strong business or legal need then we may access your files or mailbox without your permission. If you have a separate folder for personal mail that will help us ensure your privacy.


Once you leave your mailbox will be closed, as will your OneDrive and your M Drive. Again, please consider your colleagues.

You should:

  • Forward emails related to ongoing business to relevant colleagues, or put them somewhere that colleagues can access them
  • Delete or forward any personal items
  • Make sure files that will be needed to colleagues are passed on or stored somewhere they can access them

Remember – you won’t be able to set up forwarding or an out of office as your email box will be closed.

Still need help?

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