Some business emailers may think they impress their bosses, peers or subordinates by sending emails in the middle of the night. The truth is, while occasional 3:00 AM e-mails may be “forgiven,” repeated early morning emails will NOT be.
Not convinced? Just turn the tables and note your reaction when you see the time stamp of a received email at some ungodly hour!
Your co-workers might say…
• There Avish goes again, trying to impress the boss. What a manipulator.
• No wonder Sally isn’t with it during the day. She’s not getting enough sleep.
• How can he be thinking clearly at 2:00 AM?
• Does this mean I have to get up and check my email, since Harry does it?
The boss could wonder…
• Why is Jim up at 4:00AM, regularly? Is he getting enough sleep? Is he in control? Is he stressed out? Is he out of balance?
• Is Rebecca just trying to impress me? Does she think that I value this behavior? Doesn’t she know how to delay the sending of the email to a “normal” hour?
• What part of “have a balanced life” doesn’t he understand?
And from your direct reports…
• Yikes. My boss is emailing me at 3:00 AM! I wonder if he expects me to do that too?!
• I better check my email first thing in the morning; the boss may have sent me something again in the middle of the night. How’s that for wake up stress?
• What’s the matter with her!? Is she losing it? Why can’t my boss get a good night’s sleep?
• Does this mean I need to have my blackberry wake me in the middle of the night?
• Since he’s working 24/7, I assume I should also. Gad, I hate my job.
In addition to these unhealthy perceptions, you’re taking a real risk creating an email message when you haven’t had a full night’s sleep. You may not be running on all cylinders. We’ve all regretted sending an email when we were wide-awake and functioning during the day. Sending in a sleepy state increases the potential for misconstrued messages.
If you are a true night owl or on the computer in the early AM, compose a message and save it. Don’t send it till you’ve had a chance to review it in the light of day. We can almost guarantee that you’ll make changes that you’ll be glad you had the opportunity to make.
Make it a rule to NEVER send an email message when you should be sleeping. Your career, your co-workers, and your employees will be all the better for it.
OK, so what do YOU really think of those who email in the very late hours???
Email is here to stay. It is very quickly becoming the primary communication tool in business. If you are looking to destroy your career through your e-mail practices, here are a few ways you can move the process along!
1. Send an angry email. Take out your frustration on your boss or your co-worker by email. Send your first draft without reviewing it. And don’t forget to copy at least ten people. This is a great way to have career limiting documentation easily placed in your file.
2. Waste peoples’ time. The more you annoy people by creating extra work through a myriad of bonehead maneuvers like sending unnecessary emails, forgetting attachments, and inserting HUGE graphics, the less they will think of your business communications skills.
3. Forward lengthy chain emails, saying “see below.” A great way to call attention to your lack of respect for the receiver is to forward an email that has at least 10 previously forwarded emails contained in it. This forces the recipient to have to read through all 10 to try to figure out what is important.
4. “Throw a co-worker under the bus” by email. When one of your co-workers makes a mistake, be sure to document it for posterity by email. Either call the co-worker out by email and copy his or her boss, or even better, do it behind their back. You’ll be labeled as a snake and end your career quite quickly.
5. Send poorly written emails. Use improper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use run on sentences. Make sure you don’t use spell check. Anyone receiving you email messages will get a quick first impression that you’re not serious about your career.
6. Use text lingo in business emails. This will definitely show your maturity and lack of respect for the recipient. IYKWIM. LOL
7. Bury the point of your communication in the middle of the message. By making it very hard for people to find what it is you are trying to convey, you will be sure to make a name for yourself in all your business circles.
8. Reply All. All the time. Hitting “reply all” consistently will earn you great disrespect among your co-workers. As the resentment builds from all the unnecessary emails they receive from you, your career credibility is sure to wane.
9. Copy as many people as you can. By adding many extra recipients, you might think you’re communicating, but what you’re really doing is adding more work to peoples’ already full plates. They may not catch on to this one right away, but over time, you won’t be able to hide.
10. Gossip via email. Even though you think that your friend won’t rat you out over the gossip you sent – hey, it is a permanent record, and that “friend” could be as catty as you!
11. Put several names in the “To:” line. This is a great way to confuse people on who is expected to do what. By making unclear requests, you’ll help slow your career down because those around you aren’t sure who you are asking to do the assignment.
12. Write long and rambling emails. This is another great way to annoy those who can influence your career. When you write very long messages, people get frustrated, miss the point, and think you’re a jerk for sending such an epistle.
13. Send emails between 1am and 5am. This strategy is great for indirectly letting your boss and co-workers think that you’re not on all cylinders. Sleeplessness and worry are not valued in a business environment.
14. Send huge unnecessary attachments. Try to look important by attaching more information than is needed. Your co-workers won’t appreciate the size of the message coming into their inboxes or opening stuff that has no relevance to the issue being discussed.
15. Use email to “discuss” complex issues. If you want to get everyone going, send an email message to a large group and ask them to discuss a very detailed and multifaceted issue. Just watch the email threads expand! You’ll waste a lot of peoples’ time and have a real challenge amassing all the information..
16. Criticize your boss in an email. This is a good one. Email detailed descriptions of why you don’t like your boss to a trusted co-worker. You can bet that the email will make its way to the boss one way or another.,Just be ready for the most uncomfortable meeting of your life!
17. Send a lot of jokes. Even better, send dirty or ethnic jokes. These really waste everyone’s time and will land you in deep trouble. Just remember, once that email message is sent, there is no telling where it will show up.
18. Use company email for personal stuff. By knowingly violating the company policy on personal use of their systems, you can bring your career to a halt extremely fast.
19. Share company proprietary information by email. This is a quick way to get booted out the door. Send privileged client information or company secrets to an outsider and you can start that new job search sooner than you think.
20. Run a side business through your company email account. If you thought using company assets for your personal email would be a career killer, just try to run your cupcake baking business through your company email account. You’ll be baking cupcakes full time in no time!
Did we miss any? Share them here!
One of the expressions I use alot in the email messaging world is, “If there is ANY chance an email message might be misinterpreted, it will be!”
The times that folks have told me about email misunderstandings are countless. I’m sure you’ve had your share as well – both coming and going.
Here are some tips to deal with that hurtful or angering email you just received:
- Don’t overreact. Chances are, that message was not intended the way you interpreted it. When you overreact, it can sometimes muddy your thinking. This is the way misinterpretations escalate. So – keep your cool.
- Read it again. Now that you have not overreacted, go back and reread the message, putting yourself in the place of the writer. Thinking clearly, without clouding your interpretations with emotions can be very useful.
- Give the benefit of the doubt. Even if you have read the message several times, and it remains angering or hurtful, cut the sender a break.
- Get clarification. If none of the above is helping your situation, pursue clarification. Depending on the nature and degree of hurt, the best suggestion is to contact the person either by phone or in person, and without condemning, ask for simple clarification. Once again, this is where giving them the benefit of the doubt will be to your advantage. It is better to assume their intentions were to not be hurtful rather than to assume that they were. IF it is something quite simple, an email message asking for clarification, quoting the portion of the message that concerned you may be all that is needed – but, trust me, that may not end the controversy. The best clarification is a dialogue.
As mentioned previously, emotion and tone do not always carry over well in email. Instead of responding angrily in an email response, seek the win: win as soon as possible. Too much damage can be done by multiple emails firing back and forth, copying others and involving them in the controversy as well. And the best way to do this is with a personal visit or call – always.
Want to really annoy your emloyees? Use email. Improperly. Here are 5 ways:
- Send too many. The more email you send, the less your employees will read. The more you send, the more stressed out they’ll become.
- Write long emails. Once again, too much compromises the abililty for your employees to “get” the whole message. While you think you’re giving alllll the information they need, you’re actually keeping them from really understanding the main point.
- Send emails after 11 PM. Let’s not beat around the bush. They’ll think you’re nuts. They’ll wonder what kinda boss they’re stuck with. Get some sleep, and let them have a little peace too.
- Try to Meet by Email. Go ahead – send an opinion question to 10 people to get feedback by email. Watch the email tentacles grow. If you need something discussed among more than 2 people, call a meeting. It works much better.
- Give feedback by email. In the emailing world, the rule is that if there is a slght chance something could be misinterpreted, it will be… Feedback should be done in voice. Best in person, second best on the phone. Never by email.
Don’t get me wrong, email is awesome for business. It just needs to be used properly. Less is more. Choose the right medium. And it is not always email.
What do you think?
Way to go Meghan Casserly – alot of great tips on how to NOT email on the job.
Here’s the link.
And for a quick excerpt, “People do or say things via email that they would never do in person. They’d never upstage a higher up in a meeting, but in email there’s this disconnected feeling of not having to look anyone in the eye that emboldens people to act in competitive or even arrogant ways.”
Stop sending to all if all do not have a need to know.
“Reply All” is convenient. It is easy. BUT – If all don’t need to know, you’ve just intruded. Yes, every unnecessary email IS an intrusion.
Some companies have actually removed the ‘Reply All’ button. What a novel idea!
Be frugal with who’s copied on your responses. Not only will it save them time, YOU won’t get their response – so you’ll get less email too.
Okay. Now it is time to rant. This past week I received at least 15 e-mail messages with this simple one or two word response, “thanks” or “ok.”
Hey, I know folks are just trying to be nice. BUT – We have got to let go of our need to keep the trail going. With the average worker receiving anywhere from 100 to 150 e-mail messages daily, let’s do everyone a favor and stop with the one word responses.
I actually received this response — “Thanks — and how are the kids?” Puh-lease! It is bad enough that you send me an e-mail I didn’t need, but now you are asking me to comment on something absolutely and totally unrelated to the original stream of information.
The one exception that I can tolerate as a one-word response is something that relates to a meeting or scheduling or timing. I actually do like to receive a message that says “Confirmed.”
What are your pet peeves?
Dixie disciplines and critiques by e-mail.
E-mail is very easily misinterpreted. When you use email to discipline, reprimand, or criticize, chances are that the recipient won’t receive it in the way you meant it. You are opening the door to a multitude of emails in reply.
Dixie’s Antidote: Because of the possibility of misunderstanding or miscommunication, as well as a lack of face-to-face interaction, email is not appropriate for disciplining co-workers or pointing fingers at wrongdoers. Though it may seem like a fast and productive way to deal with the issue, it can prompt a myriad of emails back and forth, involving many more people than necessary. In addition, the trail of emails can leave a written record of the transaction, which may work to be detrimental to the emailer or the company in the future.
The best practice has always been to reward in public, and discipline in private. Email is not the proper tool for private criticism.
Excerpted from Inbox Detox, Acanthus Publishing, 2009
Manny sends e-mails in the middle of the night. Regularly.
Have you ever received an email sent at 3:30 am? What did you think of the emailer? Was it positive?
Some employees actually think they will impress their bosses and co-workers by sending emails while others are sleeping. Most people do not view this practice positively. It raises questions about one’s inability to sleep: is this person running on all cylinders at 3 o’clock in the morning; and why is he or she obsessing about this anyway?
Manny’s Antidote: Be cautious about this practice. Just as important as managing your work, it is important to manage the impressions you send. If you are one of those rare folks who does his or her best work in these off hours, your email program most likely has a feature that allows you to delay sending until more conventional business hours.
Penelope checks her home e-mail account regularly, and uses the company email for personal things.
Many employees make the mistake of using their business email for personal reasons. Whether it’s emailing the babysitter to check on the kids or keeping up with college buddies, personal emails are scarcely warranted from your workplace email account.
Penelope’s Antidote: Don’t do it.
A word to the wise: your employer owns your work email account, and has a legal right to every piece of information transmitted over its business network. Even if deleted, sent emails can be “mined.” In addition, remember that emails can constitute a public record; this is yet another reason not to use them to transmit sensitive, argumentative, or personal information from your work account. Even merely accessing your personal email through your business’s internet system can be dangerous, as records and logs of those transactions can be accessed by the company.
Excerpted from Inbox Detox, Acanthus Publishing, 2009