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There are many schools of thought on office email etiquette. Enough to cause a nervous breakdown in those of us inclined to such things. What is the appropriate response time? 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days…never? I’ve experienced both extremes in my career. See what category you fall into below.
The Never Responder
The Never Responders are a huge drain on productivity. Generally, the Never Responder requires 3, 4, or 5 follow-up emails to obtain a response. Occasionally, you may even be forced to ambush the unsuspecting Never Responder while they are trying to refill their coffee. This generates the following response: “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Could you resend that one to me?” This results in starting the whole process over again.
The Instant Responder
Then there are the Instant Responders. For these individuals, it is like a new message in their in-box is wired to a shock collar around their necks. This is a mixed blessing for others. On the one hand, you never have to wait on them for a response. Great! However, on the other hand, they tend to also expect the same lightning fast response from you. Not so great.
The good news is that most of us live somewhere between the Never Responders and the Instant Responders.
Office Email Etiquette Tips
So what can companies do to help alleviate the frustration and anxiety associated with email?
- Include a written email policy in your employee handbook. Take the guesswork out of email etiquette in your organization.. When you make your expectations clear, you take the burden off your employees shoulders.
- Lead by example. It starts at the top. If the CEO adheres to a 24 hour response time, a powerful message is sent to the rest of the organization that they can, and should, too.
- Provide tools and training. A 30 minute training on how to set up folders, filters and rules in your company’s email system is a small investment that’ll pay back in huge dividends. Or better yet, complete our e-learning series on Emailing Your Way to the Top!
E-Mailing Your Way to the Top Series (8 hours)
E-mail has become so prevalent in the workplace that we seldom think about it, and yet it is the medium co-workers see you through most often. How can your e-mails speak for you clearly, effectively and potently? This series walks participants through building e-mail subject lines and messages that are effective and respect office etiquette. Users will also learn about e-mail safety and how to avoid threats like viruses and phishing, as well as how to think about e-mail confidentiality and legal security. This four-course series includes the following modules:
- Managing Your Inbox (2 hours)
- Writing Effective E-Mails (3 hours)
- The Legal Face of E-Mail (2 hours)
- Becoming an Organizational Leader (1 hour)
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