7 Infuriating Email Habits Every Office Has to Deal With


How’s your email inbox looking? Most of us have an inbox that collects updates, tasks and a lot of rubbish that we don’t even read. Yes, that newsletter you signed up to back in 2008 is still coming through.

While we already have enough emails to deal with, we’re often not helped by colleagues and contacts who need a lesson in email etiquette. We all know some culprits whose emails drive everyone else in the office mad.

Take a look at some of the worst email offenders below and discover how to deal with them.

1. The person who CCs everyone

Sometimes you’ll receive an important looking email from your boss with a lot of information only to find that it’s not very relevant to you and about 20 other people are in the same CC list. What’s even worse is when the equally irrelevant replies start coming in from those who have clicked ‘Reply All’.

If it’s not relevant to someone, or they don’t need to respond or act in any way, it will save a lot of time and confusion to just leave them off the CC list. If you are unsure why you have been included in an email, reply directly and ask whether they want your input in the email chain and if not, can you be removed from it.

2. The one-word responder

Have you ever spent ages constructing the best email possible and then the response you get is “ok”? This can be extremely frustrating and make you feel that they don’t care. Senior management and directors can be particularly prone to this kind of response as they are trying to be efficient.

If you want specific feedback, make this clear at the very start of the email so they can’t miss it. If their response leaves you with more questions and feeling unsure, it may be easier to initiate a phone or face-to-face conversation with them instead.

3. The always urgent offender

These offenders are a prime example of the boy who cried wolf. They regularly mark their emails as urgent in order to catch your attention. Naturally, you open the email in a panic only to find it’s about something that isn’t urgent at all.

Before long you start to ignore their urgent emails because you suspect they aren’t urgent at all which could cause some trouble down the line if they ever do have to send anything that is urgent.

To deal with an urgent offender you should explain to them that while you appreciate their projects are a priority, they should only mark an email as urgent if it really is a genuine emergency.

4. The email enforcer

The email enforcer is the person who sends you an email and then instantly appears to tell you all about the email they just sent you and the information in it. They’re the equivalent of a teenager’s parent who knocks on the door after already letting themselves into the room.

While this can be extremely annoying, the best response is to listen patiently to what they have to say, repeat it back to them so they know you understand and then suggest that next time they just come and speak to you instead of wasting time writing an email as well.

5. The ghost

You know about those ghosts who just completely disappear when you’ve been dating but there is also the office equivalent. The email ghosts are usually perfectly nice in meetings and around the office but they just don’t respond to your emails.

While this can be extremely frustrating, avoid confronting them in the tea room demanding to know why they didn’t get back to you. Instead, if you’ve been discussing some work ask them to drop you a quick reply next time confirming they’ve seen and understood your email.

6. The person who doesn’t turn their auto-response off

Turning on your auto-responder can be extremely satisfying. It usually means you’re off to enjoy yourself so you need to let everyone know you’re on holiday whilst they’re stuck at work.

However, once you’re back in the office leaving your auto-responder on makes you look like a bit of an idiot. It’s also very annoying for your colleagues and clients.

If you notice someone has forgotten to turn their auto-response email off, drop them a polite reply to let them know.

7. The capital culprit

AN EMAIL WRITTEN WITH CAPITAL LETTERS COMES ACROSS AS VERY AGGRESSIVE. If you receive an email like this, it’s natural to think the person sending it is extremely angry. Whatever the mood, writing in capital letters is unprofessional and uncalled for.


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