A Guide to Proper Email Etiquette

In today's connected world, most employers have grasped the importance of email communications. Very rarely do we send letters or even communicate via telephone. The much simpler solution seems to be sending email communications. It is imperative to understand the basics of email etiquette whether for business or personal use.

Why is email etiquette so important?

  • Professionalism. Using proper email etiquette conveys a professional image of your company and of you as a professional.
  • Efficiency. Using proper email etiquette saves time by getting to the point of the email quickly for a more effective, efficient message.
  • Protection from liability. Educating your employees on proper email etiquette helps ensure your company's protection from costly lawsuits.

While there are numerous rules regarding email etiquette in general, below are 10 essential etiquette rules we believe will assist you and your employees with proper business communications.

  1. Answer all of the questions. Ensure you answer all of the questions asked when replying to an email. This will help lower the number of emails sent and received and, therefore, will save time.
  2. Use a signature which includes your contact information. Sending this information is a courtesy to the receiver, saves time and cuts down on email volume.
  3. Answer promptly. Individuals send emails because they would like a quick response. A response should be sent within 24 hours of the email being received. If the response is complicated, send an email confirmation and inform the recipient that you will respond in more depth soon.
  4. Do not write in all capital letters. Writing in all capital letters gives the impression that you are YELLING, possibly triggering an unwanted response. Therefore, do not send emails in all capital letters.
  5. Do not overuse "Reply to All". Only use the "Reply to All" function if you truly believe your message must be seen by each individual who received the original email message.
  6. Do not use email to discuss confidential or personal information. Do not send confidential or personal information unless you are prepared to have someone else read it. Remember, your company email is not private and you have no legal protection in regards to electronic communications. Anyone with sufficient authority or access may monitor your conversations on company-owned servers.
  7. Do not send emails under the influence of alcohol. Do not send emails after you have been drinking. Not only is there a risk of grammar and spelling errors, but the email may also cause you to say things you would not normally say.
  8. Do not send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks. Sending, or even forwarding, these types of emails may put you and your company at risk. Simply passing something along, even if you are not the original author, could result in possible legal action.
  9. Be concise and to the point. Most people lose interest after the first few sentences. If you must send an email with a large amount of information it is best to use bullet points to summarize the information.
  10. Remember the importance of grammar, punctuation and spelling. We recommend always checking your emails for spelling and grammatical errors. We have all been guilty of clicking "send" too quickly, but there is no excuse for typing errors. It is important to always spell check your correspondence before clicking send. Also, it is helpful to quickly read over your correspondence to ensure the meaning and tone is what you wish to convey.

Enforcing email etiquette can be challenging for even the smallest companies. The first step to ensure proper email etiquette is to create a written email policy. Please give Creative Business Solution's a call today and we will be pleased to assist you with your employment policies, as well as any other HR related issues you may need assistance with.

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Tawny Stottlemire
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Community Action, Inc.
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