10 email etiquette rules every work at home professional should know

A 2015 survey report stated that 78% of adults made use of the internet almost every day.  The use of the internet has increased over time and has changed the way work at home professionals communicate. With email being the most preferred method of communication, it’s important that your message comes across clearly and professionally.

Email communication is less personal and relatively easy to send and, hence, more prone to errors. Following a few basic email communication rules can help you appear competent and make a good impression.

Clear and direct subject line

A subject line should be a summary of the email content. It helps the receiver to know what the email is about. Even though a study stated that emails without a subject line were just as effective in getting the receiver’s attention, it is advisable to include a well-written subject line for retrieval purposes as well.

A professional email address

When using email for work related correspondence, ensure that you use your company email address. In case of independent business owners, your email address should convey your name to the recipient. Juvenile names like “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” are best avoided.

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation

keeping in mind the basic grammer and punctuation rules is really, really, important!!!.

The above sentence highlights the importance of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. These must be a top concern while drafting emails. Depending on the recipients, you may be judged for making such errors.

Use of lower case letters throughout the email, excessive use of exclamation marks, misuse of commas etc. must be avoided. Making use of acronyms is acceptable only if they are common, or workplace appropriate ones – FYI, EOD, ASAP.

Salutations and sign-offs

Consider starting your emails with a greeting. Use of laid back expressions must be avoided – “Yo”, “Hey guys” etc.

Of course, the salutation depends on who you are communicating with. When it comes to ending the email, it should match the tone of your salutation.

Specific and simple emails

Email is a convenient and time-saving option and should remain that way. A proper email must make use of crisp sentences and avoid talking aimlessly. Using standard email font and font sizes is recommended over quirky fonts. Font formats must be used sparingly and only where necessary. Though these formats are used to provide emphasis, excessive usage can clutter your messages or harshen your tone.

Make use of signatures

Ideally, an email signature should provide some information about you to the recipient. A typical business signature must have your full name, your position, requisite contact details and company website link. However, adding too many details may end up distracting the recipient from the main content.

While a little publicity about yourself is good, going overboard with it is certainly not an effective way to persuade your reader. Similarly, too many social media and website links will make it less likely for the recipient to check them out.

Prompt reply to emails

According to a 2012 study, a working professional receives an average of 10,000 emails a year. This sounds like a staggering number and it can get difficult to reply to every email message that is sent to you. However, it is considered polite to respond promptly, even to those that weren’t meant for you. This serves as good email etiquette.

Humour and tone

As it is impossible to know how the recipient will interpret the contents of an email, it is best to leave out humour. Without the right facial expressions and context, something which may seem funny to you may not necessarily be funny to the recipient.

Just like with humour, tone can be very easily misunderstood. You don’t want to come across as curt, sarcastic, or immature. The best way is to be brief and friendly, making use of simple punctuations.

A “please” or a “thank you” goes a long way in communicating your message without sounding brash.

Proofread composed message

Develop a habit of proofreading every message before sending it to the recipient. Using spell-checkers is good but relying on them completely may result in errors. With many people preferring mobiles to go online, according to an Ofcom study, it is wise to turn off predictive text and autocorrect while drafting emails on the go.

Add the recipient/s last

It would be embarrassing to send an incomplete, error-ridden message to the recipient. Therefore, it is advisable to add the recipient’s email address only after the email is ready to be sent.