Basic Ethics When Sending E-mails at Work

3 min read
an employee observing basic email ethics when sending an email

In today’s digital age, many professionals rely on e-mail for business correspondence because it is a faster way to contact a person and immediately get a response.

With more businesses linked to the Internet, e-mail has become vital in all aspects of communication processes. You do not want to lose a business deal or break a relationship as a result of a simple mistake.

Thus, it is high time for you to hone your skills on proper e-mail etiquette. The following is a list of basic email ethics you should not take for granted:

Basic Email Ethics at Work

Avoid negative remarks.

E-mail is not the venue to send out critical and antagonistic remarks or comments. It can hurt people’s feelings and, as a result, trigger awkward situations.

In case you need to deliver bad news, however, e-mail can be a better way to do it without the pressures of face-to-face encounters. In addition, it allows you to be accurate in your message as you stick to the facts.

Choose your words smartly.

Words can be misunderstood sometimes. To avoid the need for further clarification, the words you use should be concise and direct to the point. You may probably be familiar with the use of “emoticons” or the Internet lingo, however, never assume that the recipient is the same.

Let your recipients know if your message does not need their responses. In your subject line or at the end of your message, you may write something like “No reply needed.” This will save time for both of you and consequently stop you from going any further.

Warning on junk mails.

Unsolicited e-mails are also called “spams,” the Internet lingo for junk mail. Many people do not want them, and only a few people like to receive them. Thus, before you send out unsolicited e-mails, ask for the recipients’ permission, or at least let them know you are sending one.

If you plan to send copies of your e-mail message to other people in the office as “CC,” you should follow the same advice about junk mails.

But if you think of replying to all especially if you are one of the multiple e-mail recipients, you should consider the person who needs to read your response, and better not to click the “reply to all” button if it is not really necessary.

If your reply message will simply say “OK” or “Thanks,” your recipient may think that it’s spam. Do not forget that person-to-person communication like a handwritten note is still better.

Better safe than sorry.

Be careful not to send e-mails that are personal or confidential in nature. In other words, secrets should instead be shared face-to-face.

You can try to keep your e-mail messages private, but remember that nothing is private on the Internet. There are actually software programs and services out there that can access messages even if these were already deleted.

So before you decide to click the “send” button, think of what may possibly happen if your e-mail message is read by someone else, or worse, the wrong person.

Minimize attachments.

Select attachments that are necessary. Too many attachments in your e-mail message will take a longer time to upload and download. In addition, it will consume more space on your recipient’s computer.

If the message is not so urgent, you may consider using a fax machine or mail services such as Federal Express or UPS.

On forwarded e-mails.

E-mails that are either funny, touching or interesting are usually forwarded on a daily basis to a list of friends.

Not all forwarded messages are safe, though. Forwarded e-mails, however, give spammers the opportunity to harvest as many e-mail addresses as they can in order to make money.

In a way, the company you work for can be unknowingly liable for the type of content you are sending. If the e-mail address used to share adult-themed messages contains the company’s name, then such can potentially harm you or your company’s image and can possibly put you in a bad light.

In cases like these, it will be wise to impose a business use only e-mail policy or urge employees to use the “BBC” (Blind Carbon Copy) to prevent the appearance of a distribution list.

Beware of forwarded hoaxes that are rampant in cyberspace. There are e-mail messages that promise to give free gifts, vacation, or financial wealth. Sometimes, there are messages that tell you there’s a virus in your computer system.

Before you pay attention to any of these, check if the message came from valid and credible sources. Spend some investigation so you will not be misled into believing in a bunch of liars.

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