Email Etiquette Issues
Email has evolved very quickly into the preferred methodology for communicating both personally and professionally. We need to be thinking about the format used in formal typed letters and correspondence and apply that appropriately to our emails. One big difference is that email goes into an unregulated public domain and should never be considered private or confidential.
American workers receive an average of over 100 emails daily. Email has become part of the fabric of everyday living and working.
Here are some things to be watchful of:
- Your email address has become a vital piece of contact information. Using a cute, playful or downright inappropriate address can reflect poorly on you in a variety of circumstances. The best address has a combination of your name and some numbers, not – email@example.com.
- Legally what you say and send in an email can be used against you. Fourteen percent of workplace email has been subpoenaed in lawsuits. Sometimes an old fashioned telephone call or face-to-face meeting is best for delicate issues.
- Don’t send sexually explicit emails to anyone for any reason ever. This should be obvious.
- There’s no such thing as a confidential email. Your email could wind up on someone’s blog and you’d never know it. Email messages are often forwarded, and forwarded and forwarded.
- Don’t send emails to carry on love affairs. Sounds obvious but consider a recent CEO who had to step down as a result.
- Off color jokes or rude remarks can be the source of workplace lawsuits based on harassment or discrimination or hostile workplace claims. Keep these remarks to yourself.
- Don’t use the “reply all” feature. What you intended only to the sender could be broadcast to others inadvertently and create problems.
- Don’t paste massive lists into the “To” section. Not everyone will want their email address shared with everyone else.
- BCC isn’t always blind. When a recipient selects “reply to everyone”, those listed in the BCC field will now show up in the new senders “To” field. If you don’t want your BCC recipients revealed to others, send a separate email to be safe.
- Make sure you know your company’s policy. Employees are frequently fired for violating company policies. What you don’t know could hurt you.
The best advice is simply never use an email with the belief that it is confidential. It is not! Once it is in the public domain, anything can happen. The law of unintended consequences will kick in.