Do emails affect your wellbeing or do your emails affect others wellbeing? Read these 10 tips.
Think about others when sending emails. A recent study looked at the impact that consistently responding to emails out of established work hours can have on a person’s health. It can lead to burnout and diminished work-family balance, which is important for individual’s health and well-being. The researchers found a general correlation between out of hours email use and higher stress levels. It also found that managers and wider colleagues exacerbated the problem. If you send emails late at night, early morning or weekends please think about the impact of this on others, it could be putting them under pressure to respond. Use the delay send in Outlook or let others know that you do not expect an immediate response when you do this.
If you are on leave and know that when you return you will face 100’s of emails and soon feel as though you haven’t had that holiday, the answer is not to take a peek at them when you are away. To get a proper break from work you need to be able to shut off. Do you have a delegate who can filter them for you? Set an out of Office, include names of other contacts, let colleagues know you will be away and ask them not to send you emails for that period, Keep the first day back clear so you can catch up on emails.
Is email the best option? Would it be better to pick up the phone, emails are only 7% as effective as face-to-face communication? Emotions can also be misinterpreted in email exchange. Therefore, some things are better talked about via methods that offer an opportunity to respond to subtle cues and emotional states. Another quick alternative to email is to use the chat function in Teams.
Don’t reply to all or CC others in unless you really need to.
Be careful with confidential information, do not put names in the email title.
Be aware of other’s deadlines and priorities, if you can’t reply, a quick response to acknowledge the email telling them when you will get back to them can prevent anxiety.
Be clear what the subject is, it needs to be simple and descriptive. Don’t use an old email to reply and not change the subject. Be clear when an action is needed. Titles could include an action i.e.
- Request for action
- Must read
- For information
Keep emails short and to the point, to make instructions really clear, bullet points could be used and names of staff to complete actions could be highlighted.
Be careful what tone you use, don’t use capitals. Pause and read before hitting send. Note the difference in tone to these two emails:
- ‘Anetia – this needs changes – see below – do this and send today’ B
- Hello Anetia, thanks for your work on this, I have made a few small changes, see below, I would be grateful if you could get this out today please. Thanks Ben
Remember to thank your staff and colleagues, it means a lot.
If you think from email content that a colleague is stressed don’t ignore it, give them a ring to check up on them.
Be kind to yourself: If you are upset by an email, it’s easy to tell yourself “stop making a fuss and get over it,” but this is far easier said than done. If you do feel upset by email content, this shows that you are sensitive to ways of communication, a good skill to have.