Send. Reply. Repeat. If this rhythm sounds like your morning routine, you’re not alone. According to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the average employee spends 28 per cent of the work week reading and responding to emails.
When faced with a full inbox, it’s easy to just plow through your emails without giving them a second thought. But this make-it-go-away approach to tackling your inbox can lead to embarrassing errors and miscommunications. To keep your professional image intact and build better relationships with your coworkers, think twice before you click ‘send’.
A little courtesy goes a long way when it comes to email communication. Here are a few dos and don’ts of email etiquette that will help you to put your best foot forward.
Do include an email signature
Setting up an email signature through Microsoft Outlook will ensure that your role and contact details are always accessible. Try adding your company logo and an appropriate font to create a professional finish to your emails.
Don’t write messages in the subject line.
When communicating short messages to coworkers (i.e., “I’m running late”), it’s best to use a platform that allows for instant messaging. Skype for Business, Lync and Office 365 all have chat functions. Since these tools are designed for quick conversations, your time-sensitive messages will be delivered immediately – and they won’t be interpreted as unprofessional or impersonal.
Do use the urgent flag sparingly.
It’s never a good idea to cry wolf. Set the email priority to ‘high’ for true emergencies only – don’t use this function if you’re simply trying to get a quick response.
Don’t click ‘reply all’ if it’s not necessary.
The next time you respond to a group email, pause before clicking ‘reply all’. Will your message be relevant to the entire group? If not, edit the ‘Cc’ field of your email to only include the necessary recipients before sending your reply. Your coworkers will be grateful to have one less email to read.
Do set up an out-of-office reminder
Going on vacation? Remember to set up an out-of-office notification that will inform your colleagues of your absence. If you tend to get overwhelmed on your last day of work, you can set it up a few days in advance to trigger when you’re away.
Don’t send large attachments in your email.
Take the time to compress your files before attaching them to your email. This will prevent you from filling up your recipient’s inbox, which can restrict their incoming and outgoing messages. If possible, consider storing your document on SharePoint instead, and then send your coworker a link to access the file. For tips and shortcuts, access the Beezix reference card for SharePoint.
For more information on how to use your email effectively, get the Beezix quick reference guide for Outlook 2016.