Email etiquette in the workplace

How you behave in the workplace is often different to how you behave away from work; email follows the same rule. If you want to remain professional and not offend anyone, this infographic outlining the basic rules of email etiquette is for you.


  • Adapt: Know whom your recipient is. When possible, adapt to their style and tone using past messages. 
  • Personalise: No matter who you are writing to, whether it’s a friend or your boss, you should always state the person’s name.
  • Keep it short: A good email shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds to read. Also, try to keep it above the float line as scrolling creates a psychological block.
  • Stick to your objective: Establish a clear objective of how you want the reader to react to your message. When done writing, check if the intended reaction is likely to happen. If not, reword the email.
  • Check before sending: This can’t be stressed enough: always check spelling and punctuation especially in business emails. Try not to include the recipient’s email address before proofreading as this could save you from sending an unfinished message. 


  • Use sarcasm: Humour should be used sparsely as written text makes it hard to convey intentions. Using sarcasm in an email could very well backfire against the sender.
  • Abbreviate: In a professional setting, respecting your recipient also means avoiding all kind of abbreviations. Terms like “thx”, “lol” or “c u l8r @ wk” should never appear in your messages.
  • Include “absolutes”: If you want to keep your credibility, avoid absolute words such as: never, always or impossible. 
  • Send one-word replies: Responding with one-word email such as “okay” or “thanks” is not so ideal. Give the sender the courtesy to send a detailed answer when needed. 
  • Treat email as offline communication: Unlike offline conversations, in email, you can’t rely on the real-time feedback of body language to modify your message, pace or tone. 
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