Business E-mail Etiquette

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Whew. Y’all. It’s been one long day since last Thursday. In our small town, this past weekend was THE weekend – Hopkins County Stew Festival weekend. J I truly love this event. However, it’s also quite exhausting when you think of the preparation and clean up involved in feeding THOUSANDS of people within a two-hour block of time. We did it, though!

Now it’s back to blogging. We’re continuing the business etiquette blog series today with e-mail etiquette. As prevalent of a form of communication as e-mail is, I will go over general e-mail etiquette, too, for your convenience. I can be nice like that. J

Ok, general e-mail etiquette. Unless you’re 13, full words should be used. No “u” for “you.” Got it? The exception? In a business setting. I’m such the comedian. In all honesty, you absolutely may abbreviate words in an acceptable manner. For example, my real job (you know, the one that pays me) is at a bank. I could abbreviate BSA to stand for Bank Secrecy Act, as this would mean something to the receiver of an e-mail at my work. However, BSA can also stand for Boy Scouts of America. Unless the e-mail is specifically for business purposes AND the reader will understand said abbreviation, everything should be spelled out, at least initially.

Next, an e-mail should always include a signature of some kind. Type your name. Whatever is fine. Just don’t expect the receiver to automatically recognize your e-mail address and know it’s from you.

Also, if an e-mail is a group e-mail, reply all. It’s the equivalent to talking in person in a group.

Here’s a difference for you in casual e-mail vs. business e-mail. With business e-mail, there is no need to send a reply of “Thanks.” If a person wants to make sure you received it, they should request a read receipt. Business e-mail is for efficiency and not for your typical “fluff” etiquette. Kind of an oxymoron, given today’s topic, but it still applies.

With business, e-mail is considered a correct form of communication in all but just a few areas. A handwritten thank you still trumps an e-mails thank you, even in today’s world. Also, major news (a resignation, etc.) should not be delivered via e-mail. Your day-to-day correspondence, though, is totally fair game.

Finally, no e-mail should be forwarded without the original sender’s consent except in cases that are required by company policy to be sent to a supervisor.

I’d love to answer any additional business e-mail etiquette questions you may have! Thank you for reading!

Pregnancy Announcements At Work?

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Well here’s a new one, at least for me. With the current business etiquette series I have going, I have received some messages asking specific questions. One was in regards for how to “announce” you’re pregnant to your boss. The writer then went on to say that many people at work have done “cutesy” announcements, such as bringing a box of doughnuts to work with a note that reads, “Eat up! Mommy doesn’t want to be the only one with a big tummy.” Now, if you are at a small mom and pop shop or a family business, this may go over fine. Actually, if you work at a family business and announce this was to family, things may not go over so fine after all.

Anyhow, if you work in a traditional business environment and are not related to 90% of the other employees, please, please, please refrain from making any pregnancy announcement at work. As excited as you are for this, others may not be as emotionally attached.

For those who truly do need advice on informing their boss that you are pregnant, let me make a few etiquette suggestions.

For starters, you may tell your boss at any time during your pregnancy. You may want to wait until after the first 12 weeks. That’s completely fine. You may want to tell them instantly, as you may need time off for appointments with your doctor. Completely okay, too.

You want to let them know in a one-on-one environment. This is a personal occasion, and there may be questions they will need to ask, such as your due date or if you’re having any health complications that would require FMLA (if eligible) sooner than your due date that you may not want to share with everyone in your office. Also, your company may have additional pregnancy and/or maternity leave benefits that you will need to know about.

Once they are informed, that’s it. The office does not “owe” you a shower. Another question I had while starting this series is “When can you ask your job to throw you a shower?” Specifically, you never ask anyone to throw you a shower. If they do decide to host something in your honor, the same rules apply. Handwritten thank you notes should be sent out as soon after the event as you are able to manage.

I’m not sure what’s amped up the pregnancy announcement craze, but I’m going to blame Pinterest. While announcing to your friends in a fun way is fine, albeit debated in the etiquette world, announcing to your office is strictly off limits. I hope you learned something from this post!

If you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment!

Thank you for reading!