Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Always consider the recipient

Many etiquette blunders can be avoided by simply considering your recipient(s) and trying to “ receive” the message from their eyes. There aren’t enough etiquette rules to account for every situation, so consider the perspective of each recipient every time you send an e-mail.

Have you ever saved business e-mails from the previous week and sacrificed the weekend to handle them? If so, you probably felt like you were efficient and committed, figuring you were contributing to the organization’s productivity by using your precious personal weekend time taking care of business. You’re not alone: research shows that Saturdays and Sundays account for the highest percentage of “open and click” rates by e-mail users.[1][1]

In fact, when business e-mails are “saved” for weekend handling, it creates a huge e-mail bubble among the Monday morning recipients. People who think that they are giving more to the company by committing weekend time to catch up on their e-mail may actually be creating more challenges for their co-workers.

I worked for a boss who was a “weekend warrior.” Frankly, I couldn’t stand the thought of going to work on Monday morning. Before I arrived at the office, I knew I would have a minimum of 30, sometimes up to 50 e-mails from my boss. These were items that I could have managed the prior week, and some of them became unnecessarily urgent because he sat on them. It severely impacted all of his direct reports’ abilities to manage their workloads. Mondays were relabeled as “Stress-days.” We finally got together with him and convinced him to spread things out. What a difference that made!

[1][1] See “Q2 2006 E-mail Statistics: Breaking Down E-mail Behaviors and Trends” by eRoi, Inc., 2006.


Jeff Kempf said...

That's a great point. Procrastination never produces favorable results; however, we all do it. Email is especially easy to fall behind on, especially if you're working in a large office, because it's our primary form of interoffice communication.

Jeff Kempf, marketing intern at http://www.eroi.com

Marsha said...

Ya know... they say that inaction coud possibly be fear based. Sometimes we procrastinate because we're afraid of something. Just food fo thought, Jeff! Thanks for the post. M