Workplace Email Etiquette

Workplace Email Etiquette

At work, I regularly receive emails that contain no etiquette.  Allow me to explain.

If a co-worker emails you and you’re in the office and you do not respond that day, it can be seen as inconsiderate.  It is completely okay to reply with “I got your email, super swamped, will respond tomorrow.”  Or call up the person saying the same.  They just want to be acknowledged back.  If you never respond, you have horrible email etiquette, are showing a lack of respect and you need a dunce cap and a timeout.

If you start an email with “I need you to do this” or “what is the update on this” and you are not 3+ emails in a chain, you have bad email etiquette.  Emails should always begin with a greeting of sorts: hello, hi, hey, good morning, greetings, top o’ the mornin’ to ya.  You get the idea.  If you just say the person’s name as a greeting, it’s acceptable but a little more direct and not as friendly.  It also makes a difference if you put the person’s name and a comma or a dash after it.

  • Hello Ellie, = perfect
  • Good morning, = perfect
  • Ellie, = polite
  • Ellie- = demanding, I don’t care for you much

The closing is just as important as the greeting.  Don’t just end an email abruptly with your name, initial or signature.  Close it out with a salutation of some sort.  If you’re back and forth, you don’t need it except for the 1st email and the last you communicate.  You come across as either rude, mad or that you do not want to give an extra 3 seconds time to the person saying ‘you are not worth my time’.

  • Best Regards, = perfect
  • Best, = polite and quick
  • Sincerely, = perfect
  • Thank you, = sincere, grateful, perfect
  • Thanks, = casual, grateful, perfect
  • Thanks. = I’m not actually thanking you, I’m saying ‘get it done’
  • Thanks! = I’m really grateful for you
  • Have a good [day, night, weekend] = perfect

It also helps to take 30 seconds at the most to reread an email before sending.  Those grammar and spelling errors make you look bad, and if it happens frequently, shows you don’t care about how you come across to people or your job for that matter.  The one exception to this is if someone is often writing from their phone.  Those are typically acceptable errors.  As annoying as those ‘sent from my samsung’ messages are, at least you know they responded in a hurry, on a little screen with little copy editing tools.