London - Boring round robins, smug out-of-office replies and those pesky company newsletters – all sorts of exasperating emails make us sigh when they pop up in our inbox.
And according to psychologists, bad email etiquette is more than just a workplace irritation. They say it can damage our mental health – as well as our colleagues’.
A team from Kingston Business School analysed 28 email accounts to see which messages raised workers’ stress levels. They identified seven habits, or “deadly email sins”, that tend to cause negative or harmful feelings.
Getting back to someone within seconds or replying to an email out of office hours made recipients feel that they were not as dedicated to their job as the sender still firing off work emails late at night.
And when two people rapidly respond to each other’s messages it creates a “ping pong” effect, where they both feel pressured to reply and end up not giving emails enough consideration.
Sending out automated responses, replying to emails when in company or ignoring them altogether were all practices that were seen as infuriatingly rude, and people who sent out “read receipts” with every trivial message angered their colleagues by being too demanding.
Lead researcher Dr Emma Russell said: “This research shows that even though we think are using adaptive and functional strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of these really can be detrimental to the people that we work with.”