You’ve got mail. Actually, dozens of them. Unread, unanswered, unavoidable.
Notification by notification. Beeping, flashing, waiting for your action.
That’s the reality behind digital workplace communication.
With remote work as a new normal, emails and instant messaging applications dominate our working lives more than ever. Not surprisingly, all that buzz may be overwhelming at times.
Is there anything we can do to make our work life easier? Yes! Workplace communication etiquette is the answer. Keep on reading to find out how what recent LiveCareer’s study on top business email and instant messaging pet peeves revealed.
First things first. Almost half of the respondents (49%) considered emails their favorite form of work communication. At the same time, only 7% chose in-person communication. These numbers speak for themselves. In today’s world, digital communication is a must.
The best idea is to stick to the classic. Try to strike a balance between being too casual and too formal. Just have a look.
Top 5 highest-ranked email greetings included:
- Good morning/afternoon
- Greetings, Dear [Sir/Madam]
- Dear [name]
- Happy [day] (e.g. Happy Monday)
When it comes to email sign-offs, research participants liked best the following:
- Thank you
- Have a great day
- Best wishes
- Best regards
In general, the lack of email greetings and sign-offs was considered impolite.
It is also better to avoid passive-aggressive, pushy tones to make your recipient answer your message. “Not sure if you saw my last email” was reported as the most hated work-related email phrase. Conversely, “Hope this email finds you well” seemed to evoke the most positive feeling among survey takers.
What’s noteworthy, according to 39% of participants, a response to a work-related email shouldn’t take longer than 6 hours.
LiveCareer’s research participants were also asked a series of questions about acceptable email communication behaviors. Below, you can see a percentage of respondents who considered a given option as acceptable:
- Using all capital letters for a whole word, sentence, or whole email—70%.
- Having a blank subject line in an email—70%.
- Choosing “Reply to all” option if the issue doesn’t involve everyone copied in—72%.
- Using a vague subject line in an email [e.g. FYI or Hey]—73%.
- Sending a work email at unsociable/odd hours [e.g. 3:00 a.m.]—73%.
- Using the urgent marker for non-urgent emails—74%.
- Using slang—74%.
- Sending your colleagues non-work related messages—74%.
- BCC’ing (blind copy) recipients on work emails—75%.
- CC’ing the recipient’s manager if they’re not involved in the conversation—75%.
- Sending an email without proofreading—75%.
- Using emojis—76%.
- Requesting read receipts—80%.
Time to move on to instant messaging application dos and don’ts.
Instant Messaging Etiquette
Respondent shared their opinions on what instant messaging behaviors they were fine with and which they found annoying. Again, the given percentage means how many respondents viewed certain behavior as acceptable:
- Spamming with non-work related matters—71%.
- Starting a video call without any notice—72%.
- Overusing emojis—72%.
- Switching off a camera in a team meeting—75%.
- Setting yourself as online/available, although you aren’t working—75%.
- Setting yourself as offline/unavailable when you are working—77%.
- Lack of greetings—77%.
- Not using emojis—78%.
- Sending a bunch of short messages instead of one bigger—81%.
- Sending messages outside normal office hours—81%.
- Not responding quickly, although being available—82%.
Now, when you know what gets on people’s nerves, make use of LiveCareer’s research findings and enjoy effective business communication. High time to adapt. It will change your work life for the better.
A Few Words Before You Go
Last but not least.
As many as 83% of respondents believed that online communication was more likely to cause misunderstandings than in-person communication. Try to prevent it.
Remember that no one can read your mind. If something irritates you, talk about it. Communication is the only way to establish healthy boundaries, exchange ideas, and cooperate.
We’re in this together. Let’s help each other.