6 Bad Email Habits That Infuriate Your Coworkers

guy sending an email and who needs to break bad email habits

Ever wonder why you get glares from Steve every time you pass his cubicle? Maybe you accidentally ate his last microwave dinner in the fridge, or maybe your emails are getting on his very last nerve. We all have some bad email habits, but they can get really old to your co-workers Avoid these six things and you’ll have better luck at staying on Steve’s good side.

6 Bad Email Habits Everyone is Annoyed By

You reply all to everything.

Just because everyone received the same email does NOT mean everyone has to see everyone else’s responses. As if my inbox wasn’t already full of pointless emails, somehow you think that 30 new “Thank you” messages to a “There are cookies in the break room” is necessary and worth my time? WHY? Sure, sometimes you do need to reply all, that’s why the option is available.

Rule of Thumb – Here’s how to know if you should reply all to an email I’m on: If it does not directly pertain to me, don’t send let it end up in my email.  

Using emoticons.

Are we texting? No. Don’t let emoticons end up in your email. Just because you added a smiley face doesn’t make the email any nicer or funnier. Most often it will come across as awkward and unprofessional.

Rule of Thumb – Unless you are completely sure the context is suitable, do not use emoticons.  

Using all caps.

Everyone knows all caps is the email equivalent of shouting (you did know that right?). Sure, we all want to shout at our coworkers from time to time, but it is simply unacceptable and comes off very condescending.

Rule of Thumb – Unless your keyboard is broken, don’t use all caps.

CC’ing the boss.

CC’ing the boss comes across as hostile and it can make people feel like they’re being micro managed. Even if you’re trying to hold someone accountable, this method doesn’t work at all. Save your emails, make sure you have record of the task, but don’t try to get your boss to babysit the situation.

Rule of Thumb – Only CC the boss when they need to know relevant information or when they specifically ask to be included in the conversation.

Being passive aggressive in your email.

I get it, it’s a lot easier to say things over email than in person. But being passive aggressive via email can cause tension, especially because tone doesn’t really translate over text.

Rule of Thumb – If you have a problem with a coworker that you need to resolve, do it in person.

Excessive Highlighting/Bolding.

Just like all caps, excessive highlighting and bolding comes across as abrasive it emails. In some cases it can be useful, especially for people that scan their emails for important info.

Rule of Thumb – Only highlight or bold things that will help the reader understand and sort through the email more efficiently.

What bad email habits drive you crazy? Tell us in the comments.

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Honestly Mag's staff is made up of all sorts of people; from Millennials to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers, we have all different kinds of perspective of life at work.