Workplace Tech & Software

Office Etiquette: 7 Things to Watch Out for with Email

David Spence
April 28th, 2014

1. Attachment Mistakes

It’s a common mistake for people to forget to attach the file to their message. (Though if you’re emailing a file through Gmail and use the word “attached” in your message, you’ll get a helpful pop-up message if you neglect to attach anything). Double-check any emails that you want to send with attachments. Also, if you’re sending particularly large files, use a compression tool like ZipMeNow to zip the files so that the email isn’t too data-heavy.

2. Replying to All (Or Not)

It’s very easy to misuse the “reply to all” option. On the one hand, you don’t want to create a long email chain that will keep popping up in your coworkers’ inboxes when the conversation has little to do with them. On the other hand, it’s also very easy to forget to hit “Reply to All,” meaning some people who need to know what’s going on get left out of the loop. Take a minute to think about who really needs to be included in the conversation. If it needs to be only a key few people, reply selectively. Otherwise, make sure you really are replying to all.

3. Long Back-and-Forths

When you’re emailing someone, and each of you has sent five messages each, that’s a sign that the conversation should be taken offline. Email is great for quick exchanges, but when there’s a problem that’s very detailed and complex, face-to-face interaction is better. The problem will get resolved faster, because there will be less confusion and ambiguity.

4. No Email Signature

Listing your contact info at the bottom of your email is a crucial detail. Especially for facilities managers, who move around often, it’s important to let workers know how they can contact you when you’re not around your desk. Signatures are good for emails sent to people outside of your company, too. If you include a link to your LinkedIn, for example, your contacts can easily find and connect with you there.

 5. Bad Subject Lines

Be specific about the content of your email. Don’t use something generic, like “Hello” or “Hi.” If you’re emailing your team about keeping the break rooms clean, for example, use a subject line such as “A Reminder on Break Room Policies.” Since your coworkers get a tidal wave of emails every day, you have to be specific to make sure your message gets read. To keep your email from being mistaken for spam, avoid typing the subject line in all caps and using multiple exclamation marks.

6. Lengthy Messages

Again, your coworkers’ time is a limited resource. If they open an email to find a mass of text, they may not read all of the message. Keep your email short and to the point. If there’s a lot that needs to be said, then it may be best if the conversation takes place in person instead.

7. Loaded Content

Though for most professionals, this goes without saying, it’s still worth a mention on this list: If a colleague does something to upset you, don’t use email as a way to lash out at them. When you’re feeling angry, you may say things that will cause you trouble down the road. You never know just how closely the company may be monitoring employee emails.

By taking a minute to look over your emails before you send them, you can be more professional and efficient with your communication. Wouldn’t the extra time be worth it?

photo credit: fellowcreative via photopin cc