How to Handle the Multitude of Emails We Send Daily in Remote Work
Did you know that 65% of people who sent or received an email angered recipients without any direct intention?
Half of the global population uses email. In 2020, the Internet counted about 4 billion users, and according to The Radicati Group, by the end of 2024, the number will increase to almost 4 billion and a half.
At first sight, this wouldn’t seem like a worrying statistic, especially if we analyse the reasons which relate to online shopping, social media, and in general the fact that, as consumers, any activity requires this type of identification.
The problem arises when, in a professional interest, a person receives 100 emails a day. This depicts, in fact, a corporate picture. Beyond the stress that can occur because of this, anger, confusion, and conflict can easily appear. Another study conducted last year by Sendmail shows that almost 65% of people who sent or received an email provoked anger to the recipients and this without a direct intention.
What can we do, why do we get here, and how can we avoid such a state?
In 2020, 306 billion emails were sent and received, compared to 206 billion emails in 2017. Although many employees would declare at any time that some meetings can be easily replaced by a series of emails, in reality, the upward trend in the inbox and sent boxes could also be kept under control. Emails like “Thank you”, “Keep you updated!”, “Done” and so on could take another form.
But how many times have you wondered if the recipient understood the message correctly? Should you react or did you do it the right way? While in 80% of cases, senders consider that they have been understood, in reality, this happens in less than 60% of cases.
What should we pay attention to when sending an email?
The code of good manners doesn’t only mean rules of behaviour at the table, at the restaurant, or in a discussion where we try to show politeness. Today, it is an extended fact. The code of good manners in society nowadays involves digital etiquette that should not be neglected.
Although digitization means the use of many video platforms, applications, and work tools, we’ll focus on emails for now.
Have you ever read an email full of mistakes and offensive? Probably, at least three ideas came to your mind: either the sender doesn’t know the basic spelling and grammar, he/she didn’t care enough about the message to check it before sending it, or the sender is simply dissatisfied and nervous because of something.
Whatever it is, one thing is certain: none of these options is good for a natural relationship between the sender and recipient, regardless of their positions.
What you can do is to avoid such conclusions that others might draw about you by adopting a few etiquette rules for emails. Here’s what you can start with:
- maintain a professional tone from the beginning until the end;
- avoid vague topics and excessive punctuation, such as “!!!”;
- adopt descriptive but short topics;
- avoid using emoticons;
- carefully choose the form of greeting – formal or semi-formal;
- use capital letters in moderation (or not at all) – they can be annoying and give the impression that you have an aggressive tone;
- don’t forget to empathize;
- use active diathesis;
- use “reply all” with moderation;
- before sending, double-check spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues etc.
The subject of an email and its beginning make us read or refuse reading it until the end. In most cases, a “casual” greeting formula may be appropriate. The introduction would create a relaxing space and lead to open communication.
Maybe many of you write at least one email a day in English, so greeting formulas like “Hi”, “Dear”, “Good morning/afternoon”, “Hi there” are probably very familiar to you. But pay attention to which of them fit a formal framework and which semi-formal. “Hey!”, for example, may seem too friendly, “To whom it may concern” may be too impersonal, and “Dear sir or madam” too rigid.
Why do we recommend active diathesis?
Simple: because it’s much easier to read. When we talk and write using a passive diathesis, things may seem to happen by themselves, while in active diathesis, the action takes place when people are actually involved.
Some simple examples can come from our topic today – the email:
- Active diathesis: I’m writing an email.
- Passive diathesis: The email is written (by me).
Develop a simple and clear structure
The longer your message, the harder it can be for your recipient to understand it. This is why short and concise sentences should not be missing from your daily routine. Strictly limit yourself to what you need to convey, and if you have at least two different topics, try to separate them. Send another email, even if this could mean an extra message to the existing hundreds of emails in your daily inbox.
Although there is not the same classic structure, as we would find in the case of an essay or argumentative text, it is good to establish one, which you can easily use in any situation.
This means combining all the above correctly:
- make sure you have the right address formula;
- define the purpose for which you send the email;
- pay attention to the importance of your email in a positive tone (a good word, a compliment, or positive feedback), used both for the first and for the last part;
- be sure you will end the email in a valuable and constructive manner.
Most importantly, use a call to action. Ask a question and make sure you transmit that you are waiting for an answer or feedback.