Email Etiquette

Staples UK

Research from Staples UK has revealed that a lack of 'out of office' replies causes fury to fellow colleagues and business contacts.

They also reported that spelling and grammatical errors were hugely annoying as well as unprofessional. More than half the people polled, sixty five per cent, admitted that they viewed such errors as shoddy and that it would effect the confidence they held in the sender.

The poll did, however, reveal some positives also. Everyone has to leave the office at some point. It is a definite must that you should always set up an out of office reply on your email account. More than that, however, there is room to view these replies as an opportunity to showcase some personality and perhaps build up a bond and create a rapport with those emailing you. By editing the usual I am out of the office until, type reply to one which explains a little more what you are doing could create a talking point between you and the sender.

Amee Chande, the Staples UK MD, agrees that people read out of office replies more often than you think. She suggests that "beyond the basics, why not take the opportunity to communicate your own personality or that of your company by being creative, humorous and thoughtful. She continued by offering up some examples, such as "if you're taking a well-earned day off to go and see the Olympics, that you'll get back to them faster than Usain Bolt on your return. Or if you're on paternity leave, perhaps make note that you've been left holding the baby. As long as you remember to include an alternative contact and the date you'll be back in the office, your clients and colleagues will appreciate that everyone is entitled to time off."

Perhaps the above style isn't for you, however, whatever you do decide to write, take note that rude and seemingly abrupt messages were deemed to be one of the biggest workplace irritations. Remember that emails are a professional method of communicating. All too often people forget this point and revert to the way that they might talk to a friend on Facebook for example. It is true that many of the rules of business letter writing often go out the window in an email.

Clearly, to some extent, the formality will depend on the correspondence itself and to whom you are communicating with. Kisses, on the end of an email, however, are probably never really a good idea. Imagine if you were to forget who you were writing to and carelessly typed them at the end of an email to someone you really shouldn't have! The research showed that kisses and smiley faces on the end of emails was also a huge annoyance to colleagues. These were closely followed by text type abbreviations such as 'OMG'. Some found that asking clients abut their weekend was also unacceptable. Again the relationship with the person you are emailing will dictate a lot about how you should correspond with them. Just be aware that it might not just be what you are saying, but how you are saying it that has an effect on the overall message.