Call Us

Have a Question

Email Best Practices in The Workplace: 10 Email Etiquette Tips

Business Email Etiquette in the Workplace – Ten Tips

  1. Do Not Share Sensitive or Confidential Information:  There is no guarantee that this information will not be shared with the wrong parties.
  2. Think Before You Send: Is email the best method of communication for a discussion with your co-workers or employees under your supervision?
  3. Maintain Respect: Set the right professional tone to your business emails and always include a salutation and courteous conclusion.
  4. Be Aware of Who You Include and Exclude: Using Carbon Copy (cc), Blind Carbon Copy (bcc), and Reply All are helpful tools when used effectively.
  5. Use The High Priority Flag With Discretion: Only mark your message “high priority” if it really is urgent. Be direct about what you need and the outcome if you don’t receive the information by a certain date.
  6. Proof Read For Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation:  Poor spelling and grammar sends the message that you are careless and unprofessional. Don’t rely on spell-checkers.
  7. Never Send Large Attachments Without Warning: Do not send attachments over 2MB unless they have been requested. For sending several attachments zip the files to manage file size.
  8. Maintain Professional Behaviour On The Job:  How you use your employer’s technology is a serious matter. Refrain from sending non-business related emails, jokes, forwards or chain mail as this reflects a lack of professionalism.
  9. Do Not Shorten Words or Use Numbers For Words:  Email is not a text and should not be treated so informally.
  10. Watch Your Emotions:  Never send or reply to an email when you are angry or upset. Address your concerns with your supervisor.

Important Reminders for Business Email

Be Precise With Your Words:

To add to team productivity, choose your words carefully to avoid ambiguity and misinterpretation. The more precise you are upfront, the less likely you will see subsequent emails generating confusion and asking follow-up questions seeking additional clarity. When there is a misunderstanding by email, don’t hesitate to pick up the telephone to work things out.

Formatting Messages:

Be sure to include a subject line in your message and make it clear so the recipient can tell at a glance what the message is about. If you are replying to someone else’s email that was sent to more than one person, double check the recipients on the “To” line to make sure that you have not selected “Reply All” if your response does not need to go to everyone. Never use an old email to hit “Reply” and start typing an entirely new topic.

Forwarding Messages:

Be cautious when forwarding someone else’s attachments – they might be too large to download causing the receiver’s Inbox to reject subsequent business correspondence, or contain viruses. Only send attachments that are necessary for others to receive after checking them on your computer. Remember that sending personal stories, poems and anecdotes are not acceptable in the workplace, and they too can often contain viruses!

Keeping Emails Brief:

Save long conversations for the telephone.

Adding A Signature Line:

Keep your signature file to no more than five to six lines. Limit your signature to your name, job title, business name and address, and telephone contact information. If adding your organization’s website link, do not forget to include the full email URL.

Selecting The Correct Respondent(s):

Pay attention when typing a name from your address book in the “To:” line. It is easy to select the wrong name, which can be very embarrassing to you and the person who receives your email by mistake.

Responding Promptly To Emails:

Do your best to respond to your business emails as promptly as possible. If this is not possible, respond within 12-24 hours. By responding in a timely manner, you exhibit that you are efficient, organized and respectful.

Ending Your Emails:

Always end your emails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” or “Best Regards.” Formality is in place as a courtesy and reflects the proper respect to the recipient. Think of your business email as though it was written on the organization’s letterhead and you will never go wrong.

Setting Out of Office:

Lastly, make sure that your out of office notification is current. You should include the dates of your absence, and the person to contact if any issues arise during your absence.

Employer Email Expectations

Legal Concerns:

It is  important to remember that emails are documents that can be used as evidence in claims of discrimination, harassment, illegal activities and poor customer service. Deleting a message does not make it disappear! Rather, messages remain stored in an electronic archive system that can be accessed years afterward. So, old messages can have negative consequences months or even years after they were first transmitted.

Employees do not have the right to the same level of privacy for workplace emails as they have with their personal email at home. Employers have the right to expect that emails in the workplace will be professional and business like. They can also monitor employee emails for potential violations of their email policy to minimize the risk employees may cause by disseminating material considered to be discriminatory, harassing, improper or illegal.

Communication Best Practices

It is important to evaluate whether or not email is the most appropriate means of communication. Sometimes having a brief 3 to 5 minutes’ conversation with someone close to your workstation is more efficient.

In certain circumstances, especially those with sensitive issues, email should be avoided as this information can be forwarded to an unintended audience and produces an electronic trail. When dealing with sensitive information, a phone call or meeting is a more appropriate medium to ensure the clarity and privacy of the message.

Careful planning when composing an email is also essential. Too often we type before we think things through. Your intended message can easily be taken out of context. Before sending an email, ask yourself, “Is this the best method for communicating and how would I interpret this message if I were the recipient?”

Providing constructive criticism or managing performance expectations should always be done during a face-to-face meeting.

Remember, it is important to never send an email when you are angry or upset. You do not want your reputation damaged due to a heated response to an email that has upset you. Always be polite and maintain a level of professional decorum.

Always avoid using harsh and imperative language in an email. To create a well-crafted communication, use concise and clear language to get your message across.

If email becomes misused, it can have a profound impact on office morale and the efficiency of a work environment. Remember, once you press Send, you cannot undo it.

On a daily basis, we help employers with HR Advice.

Call us today to experience our exceptional customer service!
HR Proactive Inc. can help,

Training Your Way

Skip to content