I came to a point in my career where I am still dumbfounded by the level of unprofessionalism that I witness in the workplace. I’m talking about email etiquette. Do I feel this way because I was brought up and always taught to be professional during my school/work years? Or is it because I really still hope to see the best out of everyone that I meet? Even after all these years, I still read emails that are just plain rude and it astonishes me to see some colleagues write such items while they are at a high rank at the company.
Let’s forget about being surprised for now. My article focuses on how we should deal with such antics. In the beginning, when faced with such extremes, I learned that ignorance is the best policy. However, as the days went by and my experience grew I grasped that there are some things that you cannot allow to happen and there is always room to improve things.
If you decide to ignore an individual who’s being rude to you (via email), choosing to do so would mean to them that it is your way of acceptance and that you’re all right with their behavior. The more you ignore, the more frequently it will happen.
I am sure that during our work lives, we have all been at least once been at the receiving end of a rude email(s). However, does receiving such emails classify it as rude and unprofessional? Let me introduce you to a new concept called ‘Netiquette’. This means etiquette in technology which is the conduct that is socially acceptable in an online or digital situation.”
So how do you determine if the sender is following proper netiquette or not? Before throwing a tantrum and shouting that someone was impolite to you, the thing you need to do is understand what the sender is trying to tell you. Tone and words can easily be misinterpreted in an email. Therefore, below are some signs that will help you to determine if you have the right to be offended or not:
- The email is written in all capitals (shouting) – keep in mind that still this could be a simple typo where the keys were hit by error
- The email does not include hello, please, thank you or closing name
- The emails refers to you unkindly
- A rude email may have a lot of exclamation marks or question marks in it. However, this can also be a sign of emphasis so don’t use this alone as an indicator
However, even if the email was proven to be offensive, you still may want to consider the following:
- Read the email carefully before making up your mind/or have someone else read it
- Avoid assuming that you know the sender’s emotional state
- Never reply back when you’re angry
- Speak to the sender and understand his/her intent
- It’s okay to not reply sometimes
- Never counter-attack, be the better person
If things get out of hand, remember that you are part of an organization and the Human Resources or a grievance committee can assist you. Always be a better person and don’t let a trifle thing offend you.
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.