Work Email Etiquette 6 Checklist: How To Work Email Right

Before sending a work email, go through this etiquette checklist to make sure that your email is appropriate and effective.

What work email etiquette checklist is

Work email etiquette checklist is the routine to double-check our professional emails before sending them. The items on the checklist help us make sure that our professional emails are appropriate, useful, and effective.

As an employee, before sending a work email, follow this etiquette checklist to avoid any embarrassment and make the right impression.

As a manager or an employer, use this etiquette checklist to ensure effective communication in your team.

Work email etiquette: checklist

Appropriate use of Email compared to other channels

1) Is email the best channel?

Emails are the ideal communication channel when you have a clear, unambiguous message or request. Writing an email is the best option:

  • To give someone all the information they need, in one place.
  • To share information with multiple people.
  • When you need to keep a record of your message.

Thus, an email is appropriate to communicate decisions, confirm appointments or commitments such as an order, document conversations such as meeting minutes, and make team-wide announcements.

When to choose a face-to-face meeting over email

2) Avoid email if possible

Send an email when there is no better alternative. If appropriate, choose an instant message, a phone call, or an in-person meeting

Chats and text messages are preferable for quick and informal messages. When you are requesting an effort from someone, it is best to choose an in-person meeting.

For example, never use an email on occasions such as:

  • Ask for a raise. 
  • Agree on a large contract. 
  • Discuss a topic in depth. 
  • Confront a difficult situation, such as issues with coworkers.

3) Comply with the crucial email etiquette

Before sending a work email, make sure that your message complies with the key email etiquette rules.

4) Manage email attachments

Before sending an email, make sure that you properly managed attachments.

When you attach a file, call it out in the body of the email. Briefly state what the attachment is. If you include a URL, shorten it. Over 3 attachments or 3 URLs are too many. The exception is when you are emailing a reading list or the purpose of the email is to collect multiple documents in the same place.

5) Is your email executive-worthy?

When you write to executives, it is crucial to be as concise as possible. If you must write a longer message, begin with a 2-line summary. State your goal and the major takeaway.

Go through the email checklist before sending

6) Check everything before you send

Check your emails thoroughly before you send them. Usually, the most common mistakes are:

  • Addresses.
  • Subject line.
  • The spelling of the recipients’ names.
  • Typos and grammar.
  • Data, facts, and technical terms.
work email mistakes

Work email etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst work email etiquette mistakes: 

  • 8/10. Using your work email for personal reasons.
  • 8/10. Sending emails when you are upset. Let it sink. Wait a few hours, or days, or schedule a meeting instead.
  • 6/10. Writing emails that you would not enjoy as a reader.

Resources

  • Stop. Does That Message Really Need to Be an Email?: hbr.org