Workplace Email Etiquette

Workplace Email Etiquette

Communicating by email is a big part of almost every job these days. As we each send and receive so many emails, it can be all too easy to make a mistake, but some email related mistakes can have serious consequences. Most of us probably know someone who has accidentally sent an offensive or inappropriate email, indeed you may know someone who has lost their job because of this.

Here are some simple tips for effective use of email:

  • FIRSTLY, THINK ABOUT WHETHER EMAIL IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD OF COMMUNICATING. IF YOU NEED A GENUINE TWO-WAY CONVERSATION, IT MIGHT BE BETTER TO PICK UP THE PHONE RATHER THAN ENGAGING IN ‘EMAIL TENNIS’ WHERE MULTIPLE MESSAGES GO BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS. ALTERNATIVELY, IS EMAIL THE BEST WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH SOMEONE IN THE SAME OFFICE – WHY NOT GO AND SPEAK TO THEM INSTEAD?
  • READ YOUR EMAILS CAREFULLY BEFORE SENDING THEM. CHECK YOU’VE SAID EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO AS CLEARLY AND CONCISELY AS POSSIBLE, AND IF IT’S A REPLY, THAT YOU’VE ANSWERED THE ORIGINAL SENDER’S QUESTIONS AND QUERIES. CHECK THAT YOU HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING INAPPROPRIATE OR ANYTHING THAT COULD BE READ THE WRONG WAY.
  • A WORK EMAIL IS A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS COMMUNICATION, SO MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE AN APPROPRIATE SALUTATION, E.G. ‘DEAR X’ AND A SIGN OFF, SUCH AS ‘KIND REGARDS, X’. THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE ADDING EMOJIS AND OTHER LIGHT-HEARTED CONTENT – IS THAT APPROPRIATE FOR A WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION?
  • DOUBLE CHECK THAT THE MESSAGE IS BEING SENT TO THE CORRECT RECIPIENT(S). MANY EMPLOYEES HAVE GOT INTO TROUBLE BECAUSE THEY SENT AN EMAIL TO THE WRONG PERSON.
  • REMEMBER THAT EMAILS ARE NOT NECESSARILY A PRIVATE FORM OF COMMUNICATION. THE PERSON YOU SEND IT TO COULD FORWARD IT TO SOMEONE ELSE, OR COULD PRINT IT OUT AND LEAVE IT LYING AROUND. IT MAY ALSO BE THE CASE THAT YOUR BOSS IS ALLOWED TO MONITOR YOUR EMAILS.
  • THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE USING THE CARBON COPY (CC) OPTION. OVER-USE OF THIS LEADS TO AGGRAVATION FOR MANY OFFICE WORKERS AS THEIR INBOXES GET CLOGGED WITH MESSAGES THAT ARE OF LITTLE RELEVANCE TO THEM. ONLY USE ‘CC’ IF OTHER PEOPLE REALLY NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S BEING COMMUNICATED, AND CERTAINLY DON’T USE ‘CC’ JUST TO SHOW OFF TO YOUR BOSS.
  • IF YOU ARE SENT AN EMAIL THAT NEEDS A REPLY, MAKE SURE YOU RESPOND, EVEN IF YOU CAN’T DO SO IMMEDIATELY.

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