Communication by email now is more difficult to avoid than ever when current situation is forcing more and more companies to move to work from home. Perhaps most importantly, fear of an uncertain future is placing increasing stress on employees and distracting them from their jobs, leaving more room for errors that can lead to misunderstandings and potentially dangerous consequences for their careers.
Be straight and clear, not short
Unlike face-to-face conversations, emails and direct messages do not always have an obvious tone or much context, so short answers can often be flat.
"No". "OK." "Okay." "That's right." There's nothing more frustrating than getting a one-word email. What, are you nerdy? Are you okay with that? The other person may not be able to say and his guess may not match your intentions.
That doesn't mean you have to write long letters. Just keep it short and clear. Rest assured of what you're writing. If you're in a hurry and can't write a clear and direct message, pick up the phone.
Save the humor for close friends and family
No working relationship is perfect. We all have complaints about our bosses, colleagues, clients and the departments we work with. But you should never conclude that what you say is only between you and your colleague.
Someone can easily take a screenshot of a conversation and send it to another person for entertainment. And if the person you complained about gets an exchange, he will never look at you the same way again.
Another note about forwarding emails: if it's not about HR, don't forward the message without someone else's knowledge. Even if you don't find the message offensive, it's basically the same as talking behind someone else's back.
Do not use emojis
This may be appropriate depending on how comfortable you are with your colleague or boss, but I suggest getting rid of this bad habit once and for all.
Emojis are not only hard to read, but they just add to the confusion. For one employee, just sending a yellow face can mean: "I'm a little nervous." But the recipient could easily read it as "I'm totally screwed."
If you're stressed about this week's workload, just spell, "I have a lot to do today and I don't think I can meet the deadline for this offer. Can I give it to you tomorrow instead?"
Recall of a message does not exempt you from liability
Although some mail programs may come with the Recall message option, using this feature does not always allow you to delete the message from the recipient's mailbox.
In many cases the function simply sends a second message saying that the sender wants to remember the first. And let's be honest, if you received a 'memory' notification, wouldn't you like to open it anyway to see what the problem is?
Bottom line: Read twice, never pout or splash out.