E-mail rudeness is a pervasive problem

Studies show that more than ninety percent of professionals surveyed admitted that they had experienced disrespectful e-mails at work.

Rude e-mails are on the rise. The e-mail may be written entirely in capital letters or contain exclamation marks equivalent to shouting across the office.

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Communication

Electronic communication is efficient, but it's detached. Sitting at a computer screen, the need for tact and a respectful tone disappears.

  • Being on the receiving end of such impoliteness can create lingering stress and negative emotions. The recipient may find it harder to stay engaged at work. The stress associated with e-mail rudeness can spill over into family life and, like a chain reaction, can send stress signals to other people.
  • A subtler form of aggression is failing to reply to a request, in effect giving others the "silent treatment." Not responding to an email leaves people hanging and struggling with uncertainty.

With remote work on the rise, the use of electronic communication has allowed incivility to thrive.

  • To mitigate the stress, managers need to set clear and reasonable e-mail expectations. Organizations should create meaningful opportunities for employees to build good working relationships.
  • For employees, the best option to cope is to unplug from work after-hours.
  • Regardless of your level of stress, remember the rules of netiquette. Spend time composing your e-mail and notice inconsiderate expressions. Acknowledge a request and let your co-workers know when you will get back to them. Perhaps keep caps lock off.

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