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How to Improve Employee Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

We are bombarded on every side with requests for communication. Perhaps in an attempt to accommodate this rise in request for our attention, we have developed a sort of commonly accepted shorthand in the form of acronyms, abbreviations and simple letter substitutions for words. While this is certainly understandable, there is still a time and place for such things. Conversely, there will always be a time and place to adhere to correct workplace email etiquette.

Here are some tips on how to train your employees on proper email etiquette

Email Etiquette

Check out tips 1-3 here and read on for 4-6:

4. Have Standards In Place That Cover The Grey Areas

No matter what policies and procedures you put in place, there are always going to be strange and unusual circumstances. Policies are not comprehensive unless they deal with unusual situations as well as standard ones. Some simple rules that will cover almost all situations are:

  • Brevity is best, but do still be cordial. Tone matters.
  • Always use fully spelled out words.
  • Always check spelling and grammar. For more important emails, always have someone else check spelling and grammar as well.

5. Make Sure Everyone Understands All Of The Features Of Your Email Program

Email programs have become more robust than ever before and actually offer a number of both time-saving and face-saving features. Outlook, for example, offers users the ability to auto-reply or leave out-of-office messages. Responding to email in a timely fashion is also a part of good email etiquette, so make sure your employees know how to leave away messages or set up auto-reply. They also have a choice to recall an email, which can be invaluable for retrieving emails sent erroneously or in the heat of the moment. We are only human and we all make mistakes. Make sure your employes know whatsome of their options are if that happens.

6. Set A Standard On Punctuation

The problem with textual communication is that it lacks physical context. In other words, humans actually interpret words through thousands of minute physical cues they are generally paired with. Emojis were actually created to help counter some of this confusion, but emojis themselves can also be confusing – and time consuming. As a result, the exclamation point seems to have taken center stage as a means of communicating intent, while making that intent less clear than ever. In a world where we continue to try and find shorthand ways of communicating meaning and intent, maybe using good old-fashioned words is the best policy.

When it comes to email etiquette, one of the most important elements is simply to lead by example. If you make proper email etiquette a priority, so will your employees.


About the Author

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows.


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