This Email Etiquette Guide Could Save Your Work Reputation

Did you know it’s considered rude to not reply an email within two days?


Working in the digital age is all about speed and efficiency. We rush out email responses in seconds - and in our hurry, sometimes neglect to give what we wrote a second read.

No biggie, you think. But have you considered the fact that you could be putting your reputation at risk? The emails you send out are also messages to your work community about what sort of person/employee/colleague/team player you are.

That’s why carving out a wee bit of time in your busy schedule will more than pay off when it comes to your online communications. Here are some digital etiquette tips that will paint the best picture of you in cyberspace - and IRL. 

1. State your purpose clearly in the subject

A good title should inform recipients of the issue at hand without them having to trawl through the entire contents of the email.

2. Proofread every message

Typos are embarrassing and could result in an epic gaffe. 

3. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient

You don’t want to be revealing confidential information to the wrong parties.

4. Stick to classic fonts

Your best choices are sensible, professional-looking typefaces such as Arial, Helvetica and Calibri. Fancy fonts affect readability while using a childish typeface like Comic Sans will literally make you a joke.

5. Check your tone

Read your message out loud before you send it out. Always rephrase sentences that have the potential to be misunderstood. Remember your manners and say “thank you”, “please” or “appreciate your help” wherever necessary. 

6. Know that nothing is confidential

Once an email is sent out, it lives forever (well, almost!) in the server, or can be forwarded to other parties without your knowledge. That’s also why you should never send out an angry or emotional email.

7. Be careful with punctuation

Use exclamation marks sparingly - you don’t want to sound like an overexcited teen!!! Also, putting multiple question marks at the end of a sentence makes it appear rude.

8. Don’t attach ginormous files

Avoid sending anything above 1MB unless absolutely necessary. Learn to use file transfer sites like WeTransfer or Dropbox, which will keep inboxes free and everybody happy. 

9. Reply to an email within an acceptable timeframe

Delaying it beyond two days from the date of receipt is impolite, unless you happen to be away - in which case, always remember to switch on your Out of Office alert. 

10. Don’t use the “Request Read Receipt” function

It’s annoying, intrusive and gets rejected 9 times out of 10 by recipients. 

For more Living stories, click here or check out 4 Ways To Unsend An Email or 5 Tech Skills You Need To Know.

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